Cannondale F29 Carbon 3 – First Impressions

Written by Bevin Reith, Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs Race Team.

A 2013 Lefty equipped Cannondale F29 Carbon 3 joined my family of bikes this spring just in time for the riding and racing season to start. After a week on the bike and 4 fun trail rides here are my first impressions.

The greater stability and traction inherent in 29er wheels is the most significant change from the 26 inch platform I was riding last year. Combined with the small bump compliance and steering precision for which the Lefty fork has received accolades since its introduction, this is a platform which absolutely rails corners. Get over the front wheel in attack position and the bike goes exactly where you’re looking. Confidence inspiring and fun for fast flowing singletrack.

The switch from a full squish 26″ trailbike to a 29er hardtail had me worried about my ability to handle rougher terrain. I was shown some new trails in the Don Valley network consisting of rough trail with lots of climbing, descending and tight switchbacks. The larger wheels allowed me to maintain momentum over the rough stuff and the tight wheelbase tracked the switchbacks just as effectively as the smaller wheeled bike. The rear wheel tracked terrain and found traction well enough that I didn’t miss the mountain goat climbing of the dwlink equipped bike and I appreciated the greater power transfer efficiency of the hardtail when the climbs opened up.

For the vast majority of Ontario terrain that I have sampled over the years Cannondale appears to have the perfect recipe. I’ll be taking the Mojo to BCBR in July but for the rest of my trail riding and racing this year I anticipate I’ll be having fun on the Flash.

Guru Bike Fit @ Duke’s Cycle

Now in operation at Duke’s Cycle…

 GURU Bike Fit Experience. The future of Bike Fit and Cycling Performance Evaluation.

The GURU Experience fit system enables cyclists of all ages and experience levels to find the perfect bike. Using industry-leading technology, the GURU Experience precisely tunes your riding position based on real-time feedback – and delivers a tailored bike recommendation to match your riding preferences. This innovative process makes it easy to find the best bike for your personal needs and maximizes your riding performance to deliver the best possible cycling experience.

The GURU Experience makes real-time adjustments to your riding position on command – allowing you feel these changes while pedaling. In addition, the system’s integrated power unit allows you to test your power output and pedaling efficiency.

GURU’s proprietary software captures individual riding positions – which can be compared to one another at the push of a button.

The GURU Experience optimizes your performance to deliver the perfect balance of comfort and efficiency – allowing you to ride longer and faster on your perfect bike.

GURU Fit Services include the following:

  • GURU Road Basic Fit – $150
  • GURU TT/TRI Performance Fit – $200
  • GURU Road Bike Performance Fit – $200

Duke’s Cycle is very excited and proud to be part of the GURU Fit Family.

Art of Cycling, Contact Exhibit at Duke’s Cycle

Once again, Duke’s Cycle is proud to by “Host Gallery” for another the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival taking place during the month of May.

For 2013 we will be exhibiting the work of Paul Hrmo.

Mississauga based photographer Paul Hrmo is a former competitive cyclist who has spent the last decade behind the lens, capturing cycling races mostly in the GTA.

His familiarity and passion for the sport helps to bring a unique perspective to his photographs.

Throughout the month of May, as part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, his images will be displayed in our store, with an exhibition opening set for Thursday May 2, 2013 at 7:30 PM.

 

Calabogus…?

Written By Dave Hamel, Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs Road Team.

Calabogie was the second “O” Cup in the Ontario road race season, and it was supposed to be my race. I came in 12th there last year (my best result to date) and I expected to do as well this year. Things got a little muddled up, partly because of a lack of attention on my part and partly because of poor race management. I will do my best to explain.

Calabogie is West outside of Ottawa, and pretty much in the middle of nowhere. What they have is a private racetrack where you can learn to drive and it is busy every weekend during the summer. However, in the early spring it plays host to hundreds of cyclists. It is a great place to ride and if you are thinking of getting into racing it is a good first race. Unlike Ancaster, there is no yellow line rule in effect; so there is lots of room to move around. And because it is a race track the road is smooth, well maintained and wide. The course turns left and right and in a car would probably seem like hairpin corners but on a bike are very manageable. What makes Calabogie so good for me is there isn’t much in the way of hills. I’m not much of a climber so races like the Niagara Classic and even KW tax me severely for my love of sweets.

There were five LapDogs in the M3 category but poor race team director Roderick was on his own in M2. The five of us were Dave Chong, Colin, Mark, Wallace and I. The race started smooth enough no crashes or anything and my plan had been to just hang in the middle for most of the race. I hadn’t been on the bike for two weeks since I was away on vacation and I didn’t want to bonk or anything. The race proceeded with it’s usual ebb and flow, racers moving around jockeying for position which is really unnecessary the course is so open you can just wait until the end. In the M3 classification no one ever breaks away it just ends up being a massive sprint anyway.

The laps go by quickly, the course is only about 5.5km long so it is easy to lose track of what lap you’re on. About 8 laps in, I moved my way to the very front of the pelaton. Nose in the wind, feeling good I began to move into the big gears and start pushing a little. This only lasted for a kilometre or two because there in the middle of the road were two bodies, with one on the side! It seems the ladies race had a bad crash and the ambulance hadn’t been able to respond yet. One girl was on the side of the road crying and one was out cold. A volunteer was in the middle of the road waving at us to stop. Being the responsible racer that I am I raised my hand and slowed the pelaton down.

There isn’t much prize money in M3 racing, not a lot of glory either so there was no point in trying to race away. Plus I would be really upset if someone bombed past one of my teammates when they were injured. Now here is where the poor race management comes in. When a race is neutralized, no one is supposed to gain position, like in a neutral start no one tries to move up. I was the leader, no one was supposed to pass me. About a dozen racers came by saying “keep it easy, guys” while pedaling forward. As the guy in front, when a race is neutralized I set the pace, not them. If this was a pro-race all of them would have been called out for it, and booed should any of them get to the podium. Just think of Contador when he attacked after Schleck’s chain malfunctioned, he got booed when he put on the yellow jersey. The two incidents are not exactly comparable but there is an etiquette to cycling and as far as I am concerned, they broke that etiquette. When we came around for the 9th lap the ambulance was there so again the same slowing and jockeying.

On the 10th lap the pace really picked up, and this is where I got confused. With all the excitement I forgot what lap I was on and looking at the counter it read “2.” After we came around again it read “1″ and the pace slowed again for some reason. I took this to mean I had one more after this one, like there was one lap remaining. As a result I was hanging out near the back waiting for the last half lap to make my push again. You can imagine my disappointment when we crossed the line and everyone stopped. There is nothing worse than finishing feeling like you still had gas in the tank. At least at Ancaster I had done all I could but here I hadn’t even made my move! Thankfully Colin and Dave had good races with Colin finishing 8th and Dave finishing 19th. I ended up in 62nd, kicking myself for getting distracted. This was supposed to be my race and I blew it.

Roderick and the M2 racers had a similar situation only for them the accident was on the start of the straight-away to the finish, and the accident was on the second to last lap. When the riders came around for the last lap the ambulance was in the road, as they came into the last “S” turn before the straight away there was a commissionaire yelling that the ambulance was still there . That should have neutralized the race but when they got there the ambulance had just left and so some guys punched it and took advantage of the situation. That should have never been allowed to happen. The race should have been neutralized and then an additional “race” lap added. As it happened Roderick finished in a similar fashion with still some energy left.

Calabogie wasn’t a total loss though. I learn every time I race. I learn to handle the bike better, how to position myself better. I learn that I can hang out at the front and push the pace. The next race is Springbank, which will be my first criterium. I can’t wait to see what I learn there!

Trek Fest @ Duke’s Cycle

Celebrate Spring with a new 2013 Trek Road Bike.

Road Bikes: From April 11th to May 31st, customers will receive a $100 to $400 rebate depending on the model of Trek Road Bike. Eligible bikes include the following:

  • 2013, Madone 3.1 C H3 & Madone 3.1 C WSD – $100 Rebate
  • 2013, Madone 2.3 H2 – $150 Rebate
  • 2013, Madone 4.5 C H2 and Madone 4.5 C WSD – $100 Rebate
  • 2013, Madone 4.7 C H2 – $300 Rebate
  • 2013, Madone 5.2 C H2, Blk/Chcl – $200 Rebate
  • 2013, Madone 5.2 C H2, Wht/Grn – $400 Rebate
  • 2013, Madone 5.2 C WSD – $200 Rebate
  • 2013, Madone 5.9 C H2 – $300 Rebate
  • 2013 Domane 5.2 C & T – $200 Rebate
  • 2013 Domane 5.2 C & T WSD – $200 Rebate

Cold Day… Hot Race!

Written by Dave Hamil, Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs Race Team, Road Squad

The first race of the season is always a gong show. After a long winter riders are eager to get back on the road; and those who have put in countless hours on a trainer are keen to show off their new legs. Most riders show up with their winter gear on, leg warmers and caps a since the weather is still just a few degrees above freezing, although you do see a few nutters wearing just their kit. Regardless of what they’re wearing everyone is keen for the starting whistle.

The problem with the M3 class is that you get a real mish-mash of skill levels and bike handling. If you look at the M1 class, most of the riders are svelte, and have excellent handling skills. They don’t get excited or make sudden, rash movements. With M3 you have beginner racers (everyone has to start somewhere) as well as experienced riders who don’t have the legs to advance to the upper levels or are just not interested in those longer, faster races. The combination makes for a fast, sketchy ride.

This was my second Good Friday race and considering the Hamilton Cycling Club had moved the race from Flamborough to Ancaster, I thought I would have a good shot at finishing with the peloton. The new course was flatter, very little in the way of inclines and the rollers weren’t anything to be concerned about. What I hadn’t counted on was the number of riders. The M3 class had something like 107 people in it. With the yellow line rule in effect, it meant that you only had one country lane within which to maneuver. The road was only wide enough to fit 3 people shoulder to shoulder meaning you could effectively have one rider break away and three teammates shut down the peloton.

The race started from the Ancaster fairgrounds with a neutral start. Despite this a rider crashed right in front of me within the first minute of the race. Not a good way to start. The issue was the first stretch of road was gravel. So now we have mixed skills, first race, and dodgy roads. Once we got onto the main road it was clear this race was going to go quickly. I was riding with race team director Dave Chong, as well as Wallace and Tim, and while we started together we were soon separated. Dave had moved somewhere towards the front and Tim and Wallace were behind me.

There is a phenomenon in a peloton where it moves like an elastic band. It stretches out and then snaps back together. This is caused by the riders at the front encountering something, like a hill, which causes them to slow down and the riders behind them bunch up. The leaders then accelerate when they reach the crest of the hill and the group stretches out again. This effect gets worse the farther back in the peloton you go, so it pays to be near the front. Every time the group bunches up however it is accompanied by shouting, squealing rubber and the smell of burning carbon. I guess some guys with new wheels didn’t realize you shouldn’t lock up your carbon rims.

As we rounded the corner to go back towards the fairground the commissares brought the group to a standstill. As we slowly navigated into the oncoming lane I could see a guy lying in the middle of the road, wrapped in a yellow emergency blanket in obvious pain. A sobering reminder what can happen if you let your attention slip. Lap 2 saw us also slowly navigate around the fallen rider who by this point had been accompanied by an ambulance. This scene was still present as we started the third lap; a testament to how severe the crash must have been.
By the third lap things had begun to pick up; it always does by this point. Another crash (again right in front of me), more snaps of the elastic peloton, a few flats… Anticipating the stretch and snap of the group I was able to slowly make my way up the peloton towards Dave who I could see about 10 guys in front of me. The peloton is probably moving around 40kms an hour which is fast, but not anything unusual. If you are on the leaward side from the wind it is actually not that much effort. If you’re the poor sap upfront however, you’re working like a dog.

One of the problems with the course this year was the gravel section I mentioned in the beginning every time we came around to the finish line there was a mad sprint as riders jockeyed for position (since this was really the only time to move up) followed by a 90 degree left onto gravel. Forty kilometers an hour on gravel is no laughing matter when you have two inches of rubber as the contact between you and the ground and that ground isn’t exactly stable.

Once we got on the road again for the last lap things really exploded. The leaders had really put down the hurt and anyone who wasn’t with the main group would struggle to bridge the gap or get left behind. I was one of those strugglers, luckily for me Tim came riding up from out of nowhere. It was a small relief to see the flash of the orange and green Lapdogs kit. I was able to catch his back wheel and let him pull me back towards the main group. With the help of another rider from Dark Horse I was able to get back into the peloton, but the speed was now in the upper 40′s so there wasn’t much in the way of recovery. Glancing at my Garmin I could see my heart rate was maxed out. I reminded myself that in boot camp we did a 20 minute all-out and I only had about 10 minutes left in this race, so I could hang on.

At this point I saw Dave sliding back from the group. I shouted something encouraging like “Keep going Dave!” But it probably just sounded incoherent. When it is all you can do to stay upright and moving you don’t really have much time or breath for chit-chat.
One of the issues I have with races like Good Friday is that they’re not closed course. First the yellow line rule makes it hard to move around but also cars get in the way. On the second to last turn towards the finish, police had stopped three motorists from proceeding. As a result the peloton had to slow down to pick it’s way around them and then start up again. This gave the leaders another opportunity to snap that elastic band and despite my best efforts I was not able to close the gap a second time.

It is bitter sweet to finish like that. I had nothing left, there was nothing else I could have done in terms of effort, I was spent. But if I had been smarter, more aggressive earlier in the race I might have been in a better position to finish. As it stands I ended the race in 50th place, half a wheel in front of Tim who had saved my goose earlier in the race, and just 28 seconds off the leader.

I learn something new every time I race. I learn about where to position myself, which riders to follow (and which to avoid), how the peloton is going to move…most importantly I learn to push myself. All in all I can’t complain too much. None of us crashed, none of us got hurt and this is after all only the first race.

Just wait until Calabogie!