With Enve… How much fun do you want to have?

Written by Mark Brusso, Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs Team Director & Racer [MTB & Cyclocross]

Cyclocross season is now fully upon us. For 2012 I wanted to try something different. I was looking to step out of the realm of aluminum a little further and see what carbon in the cockpit was all about. I was also looking to dedicate a full set of wheels to file treads for those days where the course was high and dry, and the lower profile tire would roll with the greatest of ease.

So I decided to get an order in with Duke’s Cycle on a set of Enve Classic 25 tubular wheels , with an Enve 110 mm road stem and an Enve compact road bar . It was the best decision I made in terms of upgrading my Cannondale Super X. Those three components made a HUGE improvement in the ride of my cross bike. So much, it felt like I wasn’t even making that foreign feeling transition over from the mountain bike.

Enve lets you customize a special order wheelset, almost any way you want offering choices from premium hub manufacturers such as Chris King and DT Swiss. I decided to go with the DT Swiss 180 Carbon Ceramics as I’ve been running DT Swiss for years on my Mountain Bikes, and I am fully sold on the brand in terms of performance, reliability and serviceability. Out of the box, the wheels came straight and true as an arrow and required no truing and have stayed that way after several races this season.

The Classic 25 wheels exceeded my expectations in terms of stiffness and feel. I knew I would be making a great investment with them, alreading being spoiled all season on the Enve 29XC wheels on my Flash 29er. Enve is doing a lot of things right these days, and they are known for certain features such as their bladder-less rim construction, unidirectional carbon materials, and pre-molded spoke holes. Every little detail is taken care of and it all adds up to one smooth rolling, light and snappy set of wheels. The fact the raw carbon rims look great with the white hubs is icing on the cake.

And the stem and handlebar? I never knew upgrading to carbon in that area would make such a difference in the ride. All the harshness and bumpiness that cross is known for was dampened down to a pleasant plush ride. It was like adding suspension on the front. The bar’s integrated plugs are very very clean looking and the cable routing grooves make cabling easy and neat. Matte black on matte black always looks great, and it matches the wheels perfectly. If you have the opportunity to make an upgrade, and want to try something that will perform above and beyond the norm, my suggestion is to try an Enve product.

No matter what area of your bike it goes on, you will see and feel an improvement in both looks and performance. You’ve just got to ask yourself… “How much fun do you want to have?”

Trek Project One Sale

Get your holidays started early with TREK PROJECT ONE

From November 1 through to January 14th, 2012 get up to $500 off your PROJECT ONE dream bike.

  • $300 off any Select Series Project One bike ordered between November 1, 2012 and January 14, 2013
  • $500 off any Signature Series Project One bike ordered between November 1, 2012 and January 14, 2013
Check out the Trek PROJECTONE Website to configure for Dream Bike

Last day to order for December 24 delivery:

  • Signature Series order by November 30
  • Select Series order by December 10

Due to high demand, Project One bikes configured with any of the following spec choices are not guaranteed to deliver before December 24:

  • 9000 Series Dura Ace
  • 9070 Dura Ace Di2
  • Race X Lite TLR Wheels

Sale ends January 14th, 2013

Cannondale Factory Authorized Sale

Duke’s Cycle is very excited to offer you some special pricing on a choice selection of 2012 Cannondale Bikes . We have brought in over 80 bikes this Fall to give you a wide range of choice in models and sizing for Road, MTB and Urban Bikes.

Now is the time to secure an awesome new ride from Cannondale.

Here’s a sneak peak at what we’re offering…

2012 Cannondale SuperSix Family . Super… Defined! With two Grand Tour Victories in a single season, the SuperSix has winning in its blood. We’ve brought in three models for you to choose from.

SuperSix Di2 Ultegra $3,999.99 [regular $4699.99]

With Shimano’s ultra-sharp and precise Ultegra Di2 drivetrain, this bike is well-equipped to take on all. Whether you’re racing, participating in a Gran Fondo, ripping it up with the local club or just out with friends on a Sunday Ride…. stay ahead… stay in front.

SuperSix 3 Ultegra $2,899.99 [regular $3299.99]

Tried and True… the Shimano Ultegra equipped SuperSix is one sweet bike. Everything the rider needs. Light, stiff and precise, this bike loves to be ridded fast. After all, it’s used to winning!

SuperSix 5 105 $1,899.99 [regular $2399.99]

Every inch a SuperSix, the Shimano 105 equipped bike offers up entry-level value, with a high-performance ride. Without compromise, this bike is the perfect launch-point for the rider who wants to take that their riding to next step with a frameset designed for speed, precision and confidence-inspiring handling.

We also have terrific savings on other fine 2012 Cannondale products… including Road Bikes, Cyclocross Bikes, Mountain Bikes, Commuter and Urban Bikes.

Secret Link… Click Here For Additional Savings

LapDogs Strava Charity Challenge, Looking Back… and Smiling

Written by Gerry Ugalde, LapDogs Cycling Club Member.

This was my first year back on the bike. After giving birth twice in a 13.5 month span and being diagnosed with a major illness, I doubted I would ever be able to ride hard again. Last year I got ahead of myself and signed up to join the LapDogs Cycling Club only to find that my health and motherly commitments meant I could only make it out to two rides. Deflated by not defeated, I signed up again this year. You see, after watchingthe Lapdogs at races for a couple of years, I knew they were the type of group Iwanted to belong to. As a spectator I found it odd that many teams almost seemed to have an air of animosity – some might called it competitiveness – but not the LapDogs. Even though they are serious cyclists and racers, whenever I saw them at a race they were united and smilng. And there were one of the few teams with women!

So when the time came to sign up again this year, I was quick to get my registration in so I could ride with the pack. And then reality set in; teaching high school, having two small boys and being married to a cyclist doesn’t leave much time for me to ride. Luckily the LapDogs were out early on Thursday mornings so I could do some hill repeats with them before work but again, I was always rushing. I spent the summer cycling alone because I could never make a group ride and well, most people don’t have 9am to 3pm off in July and August.

Just as I was thinking the season with the LapDogs would see me with only having ridden a few rides with the club, the Charity Challenge came to the rescue. The challenge was to commute to work as much as possible for the month of September all the while raising money for charity. I was in luck! In June I had be transferred to a new school in Scarborough, 25 kilometres from my home in Bloordale. During the summer I had done a couple of trial runs on my bike to figure out the route and timing, but I wasn’t convinced. The LapDogs Strava Charity Challenge spoke to me: here was my chance to do something with the club at my own pace and on my watch.

The day after Labour Day I set my alarm for 5:45 am (gulp) and set out for Markham and Lawrence. To my suprise the ride was faster than I thought (though it still felt really far) and although I had to ‘shower’ in the girls’ changeroom hand washing station, I soon found my groove. Day after day, week after week, the rides got faster and I got stronger as I varied my routes. Into Rosedale Valley and up Pottery Road, or along the Danforth to Danforth Road, I started to learn that the East end really isn’t so bad and that the cyclist in me is still very much there. The highlights of my rides included racing strangers on ‘segments’ of my route that others had plotted out on Strava, and of course seeing a fellow Lapdog riding in the opposite direction.

At the end of the month, not only had I saved money and lot and lots of time (work-out and commute at the same time!), I also finally shed the last 5 pounds that put me back at my pre-baby and illness weight. Oh, and I won the women’s division of the commuter challenge to boot! Being able to compete again was so much fun that I’m now following other LapDogs and virtual strangers on Strava so that I can race against their time.

Thanks LapDogs for thinking outside of the box and coming up with this great event!

Editor’s Note: The LapDogs Cycling Club proudly supports the local charity, Ability Gives , which helps to provide mobility solutions for developmentally challenged kids

Upgrade of the Year

Written by Barry Cox, Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs Team Member

So…as my first season as a member of the Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs  Mountainbike Race Team draws to a close, I find myself looking back over a great year of riding and thinking about what worked, and what didn’t.  I, like everyone else on the team, had the privilege of being sponsored by some great organizations, and using some great products.  My Continental X-King tires kept my bike on the trail.  My Giro Xar helmet kept my noggin safe from harm, my Oakley Racing Jackets helped me see what I was doing, and my Egg Beaters [pedals] and Sidi Dominators [shoes] put every bit of the meagre power I generated on the trail.

But the best piece of sponsor gear?   The one that made my feel the best when I was riding?   The one that made me go the fastest?   The one that got me noticed?  That’s easy.  My LapDogs race kit, courtesy of Sugoi .

We’re talking Sugoi RS bibs and jersey here.  The best bike shorts and jersey I have ever owned.  Period.   Every race, every club ride, this is what I wore.  And at the end of the season, it looks good as new.  More importantly, it’s comfortable.  If you’re going to spend a long day In the saddle, the last thing you want is kit that doesn’t fit properly, or even worse, chafes or rubs in places that should not ever  be mentioned on this blog.  I wore my Sugoi team shorts and jersey for the Spring Epic 8, which I rode solo, and for a 225km club ride I led called the Tour de Caffeine, and had zero issues, while looking darn good in the process.

And that’s the most important thing about my team kit.  It just plain looks good.  Credit for this goes to Dukes’ very own Michael Cranwell. Mike, in a past life, was a graphic artist.  While we’re all very glad he found his true calling as Dukes’ general manager, and the LapDogs president, he also happens to know a thing or two about making stuff look good.  Mike’s eye catching and unique design is the icing on the cake, and the perfect complement to the great functionality of this apparel.

Bottom line:  when I put my Sugoi Team Kit on, it just makes me feel fast.   And if I feel fast, I ride my bike fast.  That is why joining the Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs Mountainbike Race Team, and having the privilege of wearing this kit, is the best upgrade I made this year.

But even better, my team kit is going to perfectly match the Cannondale Flash 2 carbon 29er I just ordered for next season….

Amazing Fall Savings at Duke’s Cycle

Hey Folks… rather than heading to the Fall Bike Blow-out, we’ve decided that we’d rather offer you some fantastic Fall savings here at the store.

That’s right, avoid the crowds, confusion, congestion and admission fees. Drop by Duke’s Cycle on October 12th, 13 th and 14 th for three solid days of in-store “Amazing Fall Specials” on over 150 Road and Mountain Bikes

Here’s a sneak peak of what we’re offering:

  • 2009 Cannondale Six Carbon 1, 60cm, $1999.99 [regular $3999.99]
  • 2010 Cannondale Six Fem, 51cm, $1999.99 [regular $3299.99]
  • 2011 Trek Madone 4.5 WSD, 50cm, $1699.99 [regular $2349.99]
  • 2011 Cervelo S2 Ultegra, 56cm, $2699.99 [regular $4199.99]
  • 2012 Cervelo S5 Ultegra Di2 [assorted sizes] $3999.99 [regular $5999.99]

See you this weekend…

Two LapDogs at Vermont 50 Mountain Bike Race

Written by Alex Sanchez, Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs Racer.

We headed south to test our endurance and climbing legs on one of the most popular races in the East Coast (it sells out in minutes). This 50 mile course proved to be an epic adventure with around 500 racers.

The early start (6:00 AM) in late September meant we needed lights for the first 30 minutes or so. After that some riders dropped their lights at the first feed zone and continued. The first half of the race featured very long climbs on gravel roads, it was a foggy morning so the top of the mountains was covered, but as the sun came out we were treated to beautiful views of the Vermont country side from the top, then we had some exhilarating descents.

On the second half of the race, a plethora of sinlge track provided racers with fun but also with more challenges as some sections were very technical  lots of rocks, roots and tight switch back climbs.  By the end of the race it started to rain again and the temperature dropped considerably, but there was one more hill to climb: the top of the Ascutney ski resort. The finale was going in zig-zag from the top on wet slippery grass on a ski slope. Few times finishing a race felt so rewarding.

Looking forward to next year!

KOM’ing Commuting

By Andrea Bowker, Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs Racer and Club Member

By Andrea Bowker, Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs Racer and Club Member

September 1 marked the start of the LapDogs Cycling Club’s Strava commuter challenge and elevation challenge. And suddenly I am carrying my Garmin in my pocket on the way to work.

In case you are not familiar with Strava, it is an online service that takes the data from your GPS and maps it for you, and lets you share your ride data with others. It also allows users to create segments, usually a hill climb, so that you can chart your best ride against your friends’, or total strangers, and compete for the King or Queen of the Mountain of that segment. And, in the case of the LapDogs’ challenges, it allows everyone to see who commutes the most kilometres, or climbs the most vertical metres, during September.

Commuting to work and/or school is something I’ve done since 1991 and I’ve been very lucky to have worked almost exclusively in the downtown core, making for a nice, downhill 8 km in the morning and a nice uphill 8 km in the evening. For the most part, my commute is quiet time, allowing me to work out the day ahead in the morning and clear my head in the evening.

LapDogs Cycling Club focuses not just on riding, racing and pub nights but also puts an emphasis on participating in our cycling community. Just this fall, these efforts include mechanics’ basics workshops and fundraising at Paul’s Dirty Enduro, (a long bike race that is as fun as it sounds). Another efforts in our fall fundraising drive is the Strava challenge, which this year manages to merge our desire to give back (through fundraising) with our desire to break the legs of our competitors (through Strava). Leave it to our bike club to combine those two forces.

I usually ride year-round, as many days a week as the job permits. I’ve been riding my trusty and uncomplicated Kona Paddy Wagon singlespeed for the last few years. My Speedplay Frog pedals, purchased so long ago at pre-fire Duke’s, have allowed for a comfortable yet quick commute. (They also rode great for trips across Wyoming and Vancouver Island, too) These days, I have to lock my bike outside, since there is no realistic bike storage at my new workplace. Any commuter has endured his or her share of theft – I’ve lost countless bike lights and an entire rear wheel. I chased down a guy once who took off with my entire bike. And one day a few years back I emerged from work to discover my saddle and seatpost, and the blinky light attached to the post, had been stolen. Once I did enough doubletakes to realize that I really had nothing to sit on anymore, I trudged down to Duke’s temporary location, which happened to be two doors down from my office. I stupidly wandered in and asked what they had in their “bin” – you know, the place bike shops have to put all the bits and bobs that are swapped off new bikes for one reason or another. The sombre response I got was that there was no more extra bits like that – everything went in the fire. I blinked and purchased an inexpensive post and saddle and thought that my loss was considerably more manageable than the devastation visited upon Duke’s .. and was very happy that they were there at all to fix me up for my ride home!

As a dedicated commuter, I naively figured I might do well in the commuter challenge. It certainly didn’t take long to realize that there are some seriously committed commuters, putting in dozens and dozens of kilometres every day on their commutes. My little 16 km a day isn’t going to add up to much, even if I toss in hill repeats and library visits en route. But the Lapdogs challenge is just another way of connecting with our community and giving back a little bit to the cycling world that gives us so much. This year, LapDogs members voted to support AbilityGives , which describes its mission as creating “life-changing experiences for young people with disabilities by helping their families obtain much-needed medical devices and mobility aids.” Sounds kinda perfect for a club of cyclists, doesn’t it? Cyclists are constantly deploying circle metaphors to describe what we do as our wheels turn around and around. Here we have commute, competition and giving back. And repeat the next day. A great cycle.

Ride for Rob – Cancelled.

Due to the fact that our initiative has inadvertently offended some individuals, we have decided to close and delete the Ride for Rob website. At the end of today [August 27th, 2012] we will be doing the same for the Facebook page.

Being offensive to a segment of our audience was never our intention and the farthest thing from our thoughts when we begin this initiative.

Our sincere apologizes to all.

~ Michael Cranwell, Duke’s Cycle.

Oakley… Style, performance and function.

Written by Giordano Piccolotto, Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs Race Team Member (he’s the guy seen above on the right)

Oakley , the name is synonymous with quality athletic eyewear. I remember being a kid and seeing Andre Agassi with those original Oakley sunglasses and thinking they were the coolest looking shades around. Well Oakley has never deviated from it stylish roots and continues to this day to deliver awesome looking glasses that are still top notch when it come to athletic design as well.

This year the Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDog Race Team has been lucky enough to partner with Oakley, something that a lot of us were excited about. I chose to go with the “ Racing Jacket ”, renamed this year from “Jawbone”. A few of the racers received their orders in time for this year’s Ontario Cup Provincial Championships. I was one of them and looked forward to seeing how they preformed. I’ll skip to the conclusion now.

I was impressed.

I’ll let you know I’m a new user of contact lenses and I am still getting used to them so my eyes are prone to feeling dry. A cyclist’s glasses are used as much for keeping the wind out of their eyes as the sun. Compounded with the issue of contact lenses drying out in the wind I was curious to see how the Oakleys would fare. They didn’t disappoint. Even with the vented lenses I found them keeping almost all the wind out and a great deal of water too. I forgot to mention the Provincial Race this year was nothing short of epic, taking place during a lightning ridden, torrential downpour. Add in a big climb and a long, fast descent in the wind and you’ve got the ultimate testing ground for cycling eyewear.

With the race starting in the bright sun I found that the lenses did a great job of keeping the sun’s glare to a minimum while adding a lot of contrast, impressively so. Note; I was using the VR28 Blue Iridium lenses. Once the rain started it came down hard. I was surprised at how well the Oakleys kept the water out, not that I thought they would fail, I just didn’t think any glasses would help through that kind of rain.

The Oakleys performed better than expected. At certain points they did become unusable though, the water whipping off riders wheels as we descended coupled with what was coming down from the sky rendered me sightless at times, I don’t blame the glasses though, that’s all on Mother Nature. I seriously doubt anything would have been able to cut through all that rain and splash. All of this being said, the water was not entering my eyes at all, something I was certain would eventually happen. I should also point out that Oakley sells a hydrophobic coating that can be applied to their lenses. I didn’t have a chance to try this out but I’m betting that it would have proved useful.

So far the glasses have done really well on all fronts; great light reduction and contrast, superb protection from the wind, and better than expected performance in the rain. I’m happy. Then there are the little things. They’re feather light, not that it really matters in the end, but you don’t even feel them when you have them on, and that’s not an exaggeration, it’s actually kind of cool. The material used for the frame constructions is pretty incredible too; it’s super pliable and bends back into shape immediately. The arms snap off to ensure that they won’t break and are easily snapped back into place. And all of the rubber nose and ear pieces are made of a special compound that becomes stickier when it comes into contact with sweat. Oakley has been really thorough in its design process. Everything is well thought out and very functional with all the details being paid attention too. On top of this, they’ve made the glasses totally customizable. You can pop out your current “O” icons and pop in a different colour. And the lenses are completely interchangeable; one of the main features of the “Racing Jacket”, and it’s very easy to do (they come with two lenses btw). You can switch out your ear socks for new ones if they wear out or if you just want a new style. I’ve already started adding splashes of white to my glasses and think they look even better than they did before.

All in all I’m seriously impressed with these glasses on all fronts. Oakleys may be a bit pricey but after wearing mine for the last few days I’d be willing to pay for them over again.

Chapeaux Oakley.

Photo credit: Peter Kraiker, Studio f-Stop