DISPATCHES FROM COLUMBINE: IS YOUR BIKE READY TO ROLL?

Thursday, April 24th, 2014 | by ergonusa

Shared via:  http://www.leadvilleraceseries.com/2014/04/dispatches-from-columbine-is-your-bike-ready-to-roll/

By Dave Wiens

Is it time to awaken your bike from a long winter’s sleep? Dave takes us through the process of prepping your machine for spring trails – and fills us in on a lesser-known secret for Leadville success. 

No matter where you live and how much (if any) riding you’ve been able to do during the winter, spring is a great time of year to put some thought and effort into your bike. Maybe, like me, you’re extracting it from some deep, dark corner of your basement. Maybe you plan on doing some major work to it this season, such as upgrading components. Or maybe it just needs a good scrub. Either way, here are my suggestions for making sure it’s ready to take on the trail.

I’m hoping to get out on dirt (hitting the Sidewinder Trail near Montrose, CO) for the first time in 2014 later this week. I just pulled my training bike, a Canyon Nerve AL 29, out of that dark corner of the basement I was just talking about. I parked it there way back in early December, after my final mountain bike ride of 2013.

If I was in any way unsure of its condition, I wouldn’t hesitate to bring it to Dan, the mechanic I’ve used for more than a decade. However, since I remember it being solid the last time I rode it, I don’t anticipate it needing a ton of work. I’m no ace mechanic, especially now that bikes are far more complex than they were back in the day, so I lean on Dan a lot. But in this situation, I’ll check the bike over myself and I hope to find it ready to ride with just a small amount of work.

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Dave’s DIY Bike Prep Checklist

Let’s walk through my checklist as I prepare to take my bike out on an ambitious trail ride like Sidewinder:

TiresMy main goal is to put new sealant (I use Stan’s Sealant) in each tire, but this is also a great time to replace the rubber if necessary. I inspect each tire closely for damage that may warrant replacement, including tread wear or other damage or wear. It’s a bummer when you discover an abraded sidewall or similar carnage on a tire that still has lots of tread life left in it, but better to find it now than out on the trail.

If I won’t be replacing the tires, I’ll remove all of the old liquid sealant, pull any buildup of dried sealant off of the inside of the tire and dry the tire out with a rag if necessary. If you’re running tubes, you may be able to get away with visually inspecting the tires without removing them from the wheels. My Continental XKing 2.4 tires from last season are still good to go and just need new sealant this time. (The notubes.com website suggests replacing sealant every two to six months. If you ride a lot, I’d replace it at least every two months and strategically before big events.)

WheelsWhile the tires are still off, I inspect the wheels closely. I grab each spoke to be certain they’re all tight, inspect the rim or sealant strip and the valve. I spin the wheel to determine if it is true. Once I’m satisfied that all is in order, I put in fresh sealant and re-inflate the tire.

I’ll try to do a short ride close to home with new sealant just to be certain both tires are holding air and sealed. On any ride in the boondocks, I always carry two tubes, a patch kit, compressed air and adapter and a mini pump like the Topeak Race Rocket MT. I’ll also make sure to have my trusty Joe Blow Ace floor pump in the car so that I can start the ride with the perfect tire pressure.

Shocks Next on the list of importance is the pressure in my shocks. Not only do I add air with a shock pump, I also inspect the shock for oil to be certain that I don’t have a blown seal or any other leaks. I compress the shocks to be certain that they are holding air and functioning properly.

Brakes – Next up I check my brakes. Sometimes brake lines go funky without use and may need to be bled. My Maguras are still perfect and the adjustment of the pads on the rotors is spot on. I check this just by lifting each wheel, rolling it and listening for any rubbing.

The tires, shocks and brakes were my main concern because each of these components requires contained fluid. There was a time not so long ago when the only fluid on my bike was what was in my water bottle.

Now, I put a wrench to every bolt on the bike to ensure tightness. I also install and test the new Ergon GE1 grip with a revolutionary inside clamp.

Finally, I lube the SRAM XX1 drivetrain and run through the gears, which are still perfect (no contained fluid, just good old cables). A little lube on the pedals, a check of the Topeak ProPack seatbag to be certain that it is stocked with a Mini Pro 20 multi tool, a patch kit, a spare tube, tire levers, a small bottle of lube, master chain links and a few dollars to use as tire boots (there are no stores where I ride).

Now it’s time for a spin around town to be certain everything is in good order.  Then I’ll be ready for the Sidewinder.

Checking through the above list on a regular basis has the added benefit of familiarizing yourself with your bike. This could pay dividends should you ever need to play field mechanic and solve a mechanical issue during an epic training ride or in a race.

When DIY Just Won’t Do

I didn’t use Dan, my mechanic, this time around because the bike was in good shape the last time I used it. However, there are times when taking your bike to a mechanic is a must. On that list are new bike builds; brake bleeds; suspension service or rebuilds; wheel trueing; and getting your bike tuned up for a race.

Unless you are a competent bicycle mechanic with ample time to work on your bike, consider establishing a relationship with a bike shop in your area (if you haven’t already). Your local shop may be one of the most important pieces of your quest for success in the Leadville Trail 100. Here are two top reasons why:

1. Success at Leadville most often results from solid training, and solid training means lots of miles on the bike. Lots of miles on the bike means going through parts and pieces – tires, brake pads, drivetrains, etc. Riding a lot simply wears our equipment out. Just like your car, your bike needs service on a regular basis. To be able to get through the quantity and variety of training rides that you have on tap, your bike will need to be ready for each and every one of them.

2. You need multiple bikes. This is often called “the quiver,” and many of you have one. Most common is the quiver of two: a mountain bike and a road bike. I recommend this quiver to anyone who is serious about training for and succeeding in an event like the LT100.

Others have more bikes in their quiver: a heavier trail bike, a lightweight racing mountain bike, a road bike, a singlespeed mountain bike, a ‘cross bike, a fixed-gear road bike, a snow bike and a bike just for the third Tuesday of each month. I exaggerate, but you get the idea.

If you’re in the market for a new ride, whether to use in the LT100 or to enhance your training, your local bike shop can be an invaluable resource.

I often get asked about a certain new bike that someone has found at a great price online and if I think it’s a good deal or not. My answer is always the same: I suggest that the first option should always be to purchase from your local bike shop. This is not just to “buy local,” but there’s an important practical element, too. If you’re shopping for something that never will need service, I understand shopping for price even if that means your dollars will leave your local community. However, your bicycle is reliant on service and the occasional need for additional parts and accessories, not to mention the personal attention you’ll want and need to be able to get things fixed quickly for training rides or before departing for the big race in Leadville. Having that relationship with your local bike shop is key in my opinion.

But which shop? All shops are not created equal.

Research shops in your area by asking other riders their opinions and by going in and talking to the employees. Get to know them. If you’re in the market for a new bike or perhaps a component upgrade, you’ll want to be assured that the sales associate know his or her stuff.

It’s the same for the service technicians, a.k.a., the mechanics. Ask them how long they have been working on bikes, how long they have been working there and what sort of formal training they have with bicycles. As bikes have become more complex, the skillset necessary to be an excellent mechanic is much more technical and requires more time, work and dedication to acquire. Great bike mechanics are in high demand and you need to make sure that one of them is working on your bike.

Okay, enough about shops – time to go for a ride. Enjoy!

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MAKE ANY ROAD BIKE MORE COMFORTABLE

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 | by ergonusa

Outside Magazine recently got their hands on our new CF3 Pro Carbon seatpost.  They spent a few months riding is around the mountain roads of Santa Fe, NM.  Needless to say, they didn’t want to give it back.  They just posted up a few words about their time spent on the CF3.  Have a read by clicking the image below….

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NOMADIC WITH THE NOMADS

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 | by ergonusa

Ride along with Dylan Wolsky of the Ergon sponsored, The Nomads, as he rides his new Santa Cruz 650b mtb through Chile topped off with the GA1 Evo grips and the BA3 backpack.

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TOPEAK-ERGON WINS CAPE EPIC 2014

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 | by ergonusa

It’s a sensational result for the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team at the Cape Epic in South Africa. Robert Mennen and Kristian Hynek won the World’s toughest stage race. Sally Bigham and Esther Suess took second in the overall ranking.

With a total of 8 stages, covering 718km and 14.850m of ascent, the race is associated with blood, sweat, sun, dust, rain, fast flowing rivers and wild animals. They are conditions which face the competitors every year at the Absa Cape Epic in South Africa and the reason it is considered the hardest stage race in the World.

To win this event is a target for any of the elite professional mountain bikers, and even to take part is something which many dream of. For Robert Mennen (28) and Kristian Hynek (33) of the Topeak Ergon Racing Team, it is a dream which has now come true. After 4 days of riding as the lead team in the yellow jersey, our two heroes won the race on Sunday — a perfect result for the Koblenz based team.

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”I can’t believe that Kristian and I came here, and won this thing!” Robert said after the race. ”Cape Epic was right at the top of my ?must win’ list. This is the biggest win of my career!” Kristian also didn’t hide his joy at the result: ”This means as much to me as my European 2012 Champion’s Title”, which shows precisely how important a result they think it is.

It is a result which wouldn’t have been possible without the Fair Play principles of Jochen Kaess and Markus Kaufmann, who twice helped our team — giving wheels twice sacrificing their own ambitions in order to allow Kristian and Robert to chase theirs. ”Without their help, it is unlikely that we would be stood here,” Robert said in tribute to the Team Centurion-Vaude competitors.

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Amongst the jubilation at the Cape Epic win, there was another result to savor — Topeak Ergon’s Sally Bigham (35) and Esther Süss (riding as Team Meerendal) took 2nd place in the women’s race. A superb result in itself, and one that the team will continue to celebrate.

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All of this success is only possible thanks to the whole team — not just the athletes. Particular mention should go to team mechanic Peter Felber, and the Team Manager Dirk Juckwer. A mention also should go to the sponsors, providing the equipment which is hard wearing enough to be able to take the punishment of this race. From the ergonomic advantages from Ergon’s grip and saddle program, minimizing fatigue, to the performance of the new Canyon 29er full suspension bikes. Everything plays its part.

More information and results at: www.cape-epic.com

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WIENS KICKS OFF HIS 2014 SEASON IN TEXAS

Monday, March 31st, 2014 | by ergonusa

Austin Rattler
March 29, 2014
Austin, Texas, USA

Topeak Ergon Team rider Dave Wiens kicked off his 2014 racing season deep in the heart of Texas at the first Leadville Race Series event of year, the Austin Rattler 100k. The dry and dusty 16-mile lap was rendered fast and tacky by a spring storm that pummeled the venue with wind, rain and hailstones the evening before the race. 90-degree temps and high humidity also went the way of the dry conditions as race day began at a chilly 50 degrees and high temps only reached the mid 70’s; perfect racing conditions.

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“Race day conditions could not have been better, “ Wiens said after finishing, 4th in the four lap race with a time of 3:49:54. “It was hot and muggy during our preride on Friday and the course was soft, dusty and loose. The rain took dust out of the picture and made for a faster course with great traction.”

Almost immediately after the start, eventual first, second and third place finishers, two-time Rattler winner, Tristin Uhl, Brian Jenson and Carter Shaver were gone. “I actually thought there were more riders ahead of us. I was surprised when Will (Black) told me we were running in 4th and 5th on lap three. But I didn’t want any part of the pace at the front. Not today. Not this early in the season. Not at all, really. I’m to old!”

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Behind the leaders, windy conditions, combined with abundant gravel road and two-track sections, made for a strategic race with plenty of drafting. “The race quickly broke up into groups of riders and ours had 10-12 riders on the first lap,” Wiens recalled. Sections of twisting singletrack broke things up somewhat and a few punchy climbs helped to whittle the groups down as the race wore on. “I sort of fell off the pace and dialed it back after the first lap. After blowing to the moon here last year after just two laps, I was wary. But without killing myself, I was able to climb back into the group to start the second lap. From there, we lost a rider here and there until late in the third lap it was just Will and I.”

“We kept it steady for the final lap, and it got pretty tough as we were lapping lots of riders and having to work past them. It takes extra energy to pass but these riders are also right on that ragged edge and they’re racing, too. It was cool to see the number of riders at the event this year and everyone was having a blast.” A record 500 plus riders all rolled out for the 8am start, many of which were vying for 100 spots in the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race in August.

Photos by Tr-iag Sports Photography

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GE1 REVIEW BY ROKWORTH BICYCLES

Monday, March 24th, 2014 | by ergonusa

“So far I’ve logged about 50 miles with the GE1s and plan to use these as my primary grips for the season; they’re excellent.”

The folks at Rokworth Bicycles have posted up a super indepth review of our new GE1 grips. Have a look at http://www.rokworth.com/ergon-ge1-grip-review/ or click the image below

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EARLY SEASON SUCCESS AT THE TRUE GRIT 100 FOR TOPEAK-ERGON USA

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 | by ergonusa

March 14, 2014
St. George, Utah

Saturday, March 14 marked the official start of the 2014 ultra endurance race season in the USA with the True Grit 100 in St. George, UT.  Serving as the opening round of the National Ultra Endurance Series, this long, tough, and technical course drew athletes from all over the USA to test their early season fitness on what is one of the most technical endurance race course in the USA.

Making the trip to St. George, UT to represent Topeak-Ergon USA were Sonya Looney and Jeff Kerkove.  Sonya who got a kick-start on her 2014 season with the Trans-Andes Stage Race back in January with a 2nd place overall in the final GC, was looking to continue her strong consistent riding.  Jeff came into the True Grit with some good fitness after a winter season of backcountry xc skiing and a few multi-day mtb training camps to St. George and Moab, UT.

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Sonya Looney, would have the ride of the day for the team.  With a small, but strong, Pro Women’s field, Sonya would have to battle the very rough and technical course, past NUE Series winner Cheryl Sornson, and even a mechanical.  Sonya shared her experience from her 8 hour race effort…

“I wasn’t sure where my endurance fitness would be since most of my rides have been short due to the long winter.  I was happy with where my technical skills were after no real technical riding since last year.  I rode within minutes of the Cheryl for a good portion of the race, but my front brake stopped working for the last 3.5 hours of the race making for slow trail riding and a big gap eventually opened up.  My old wrist injury from when I broke it in 2012 also flared up from the extreme jostling on the hardtail and it hurt so bad I thought it was rebroken!  My goal changed from chasing after 1st place to surviving.  Despite everything, I enjoyed the experience, accepted things as they happened, and was happy to be racing my bike on amazing desert trails!”

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Jeff Kerkove, made the trip to the Utah desert from the cold and snowy Vail Valley of Colorado.  The Pro Men’s field was one of the largest of the day, consisting of nearly 50 riders from all over the USA.  Having a great start, Jeff rode in the top 7 for the first 50 miles of the 90 mile race.  Unfortunately, almost unbelievable bad luck struck near the end of the first 50 miles.  Jeff following his return to the team van….

“I was riding along late in the final miles of lap 1 of 2.  When I was directed by a volunteer course marshal to turn right when the course actually went left.  I didn’t think twice and keep my head down and pushed on.  Eventually I ended up backtracking on the course to section I had already raced over….and found myself racing now in the Top 25 of the field.  Mentally, this crushed me.  I eventually got fed up and called it a day after 60 miles of racing. Physically I am where I need to be for March, but mentally, that was a huge blow.  It’s time now to look beyond this tiny hiccup in the early season and keep the eye on the Summer racing prize.”

TEAM RESULTS
Sonya Looney, 2nd Place, Pro Women
Jeff Kerkove, DNF, Pro Men

Next up for Team Topeak-Ergon USA is the Sea Otter Classic, the Whiskey Off-Road, and the Titan Desert Challenge in Morocco!

All photo(s) credit to Crawling Spider Photography

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ERGON LANDS IN BICYCLING MAGAZINE 2014 BUYERS GUIDE

Thursday, March 20th, 2014 | by ergonusa

Have you picked up the latest issue of Bicycling Magazine? You should, as it is their mega thick buyers guide and a few of our products land on their pages. Have a quick look….

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Available now, the BICYCLING magazine 2014 Buyers Guide.

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On page 84, a BMC utility bike complete with Ergon GP1 grips.

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Must have enduro accessories for 2014? The BA3 Evo backpack makes their list of functional and comfortable products.

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ERGON USA ADDS JEFF LENOSKY TO 2014 ERGON USA TEAM

Monday, March 17th, 2014 | by ergonusa

Ergon USA adds Jeff Lenosky to 2014 Ergon USA Team, announces grassroots Enduro team application process

March 17, 2014 (Los Angeles, Calif.)– Ergon USA is proud to announce the addition of freeriding and trials legend Jeff Lenosky to the Ergon USA Factory Team. Well known as a trials and urban rider, Lenosky’s competitive pursuits are broadening in the 2014 season, with a full schedule of Enduro events added to his calendar.

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“Jeff’s a natural fit for Ergon,” offers Jeffrey Neal, head of Ergon’s North American division, “He’s a consummate pro and an an extremely likeable athlete, one who understands the benefit of a dialed interface between rider and machine. His journey into Enduro has already been fascinating to watch – we’re looking forward to seeing him push our products to the limit in 2014.”

“It’s understandable that my commitment to Enduro is viewed as a bit of a transition,” states Lenosky, “but it’s more accurate to describe the switch in focus as a natural extension of the type of riding you’re most likely to find me enjoying with friends. Only the competitive aspect is truly new – I’ve never raced before. That alone has made it challenging, yet at the same time, incredibly enjoyable.”

“I’ve known about the Ergon for a while, but it wasn’t until I was riding in Canada with Fabien Barel that I really took interest,” continues Lenosky, “The first thing that caught my eye was the attention to detail on the new products. From there, Fabien explained the company’s philosophy about enhancing ergonomics of the contact points between rider and bike. I’ve been riding mountain bikes for over 20 years and I’m very particular about saddles and grips. I’ve never sought sponsorship for these products before, but after some extensive time on Ergon I’m hooked.”

Lenosky’s addition to Ergon’s USA Factory Team bolsters an already star-studded squad that features riders such as two-time downhill world champion, Fabien Barel,  mountain bike cross country legend, Dave Wiens and founding member of the freeride movement, Richie Schley. Fans can see at Jeff and his Ergon-kitted Giant at Enduro races across the country and world in 2014.

Ergon USA Now Accepting Applicants for Enduro Team
In related news, the application window for Ergon’s grassroots Enduro program begins today. Selected team members will be issued a full complement of products from Ergon’s Enduro offerings, including GE1 grips, BA3 pack with optional BP100 spine protector, a choice of gloves and the all new SME3 Enduro saddle. Selection criteria include race schedule, preexisting retailer partnerships, past results and social reach.

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“The brand ambassador landscape has changed as social channels have matured and our enduro program reflects that,” offers Ergon marketing and team manager Jeff Kerkove, “In the past athletes were evaluated primarily by results. Today, sponsorships like these are much more weighted by influence. Winning used to be the only way you reached an audience, but that’s no longer the case.”

“We want our Enduro team members to put our new gear through the wringer and share their exploits with their friends and the rest of the world along the way,” continues Kerkove, “We believe that after spending years in development our enduro products are ready for primetime; to be ridden hard and put away wet. There are some riders out there we believe are more than up for the task and we’re looking forward to reviewing their resumes.”

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Applicants are encouraged to apply online between now and Friday, March 28th. Riders selected for the team will be notified by email shortly after.

About Ergon USA - Founded in 2007, Ergon develops ergonomically designed products for cyclists. Each product represents a collaborative effort between top designers, engineers and athletes including downhill legend Fabien Barel and Leadville 100 champions Alban Lakata and Sally Bigham. All products undergo exhaustive testing at Germany’s most highly regarded technical institutes prior to extensive real world analysis and subsequent release to the public. Multiple international design awards and numerous victories at racing’s highest levels confirm Ergon’s position at the cutting edge of cycling performance. For more information, please visit Ergon USA’s website. 

About Jeff Lenosky - A legend of mountain bike freeriding and trials riding, Lenosky is a veteran rider who performs demos and competes in events across the country. A native of New Jersey, he is a pioneer of MTB street and urban riding and he holds the world record for the highest bunny hop on a mountain bike (45.5 inches). Jeff travels the world on behalf of his sponsors, which include Giant, Shimano, X-Fusion, and now Ergon.

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YUKI IKEDA FINISHES 2ND AT THE 2014 YAK-ATTACK

Monday, March 17th, 2014 | by ergonusa

March 3 – 11, 2014
Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

The Yak-Attack touts itself as the highest mountain bike race in the World. Rightfully so, as the 8 Stage race sends riders up to nearly 18,000 feet. The Yak-Attack’s mission is to provide inspiration, funding, and equipment for up and coming Nepali mountain bikers.

Each year nearly 50 racers toe the start line in hopes of surviving the 8 Stages, the environment, and the deep talent field of Nepali riders. This year, Yuki Ikeda, was back for revenge after attempting the race in 2013and falling ill due to the harsh conditions early in the race.

All week, Yuki would battle at the front of the race with the past Nepali winner, Ajay Pandit Chhetri. It was only a matter of time before either Yuki or Ajay would emerge as the event leader.

Due to the remoteness of the event, details as to what was happening on the race course were quiet. It wasn’t until late in the race that we were able to catch up with Yuki to get a brief event report.

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After returning from the high altitudes of the Annapurna Circuit of Nepal, Yuki filled us in on his adventure over a very slow internet feed out of Kathmandu……

“Yak Attack 2014 was the event I must FINISH because I could not finish it last year (2013) due to the horrible sickness I got during the race.

I felt great mentally and physically in the first 5 stages including two stage wins, but some mechanical issues and the altitude sickness slowed me down after Stage 5.

I had a hard time sleeping, bad headaches, achy joints, and swollen body because we were above 12,000 feet from Stage 5 to the finish!

Even though I was having hard time, the experience up in the mountain was unbelievable. The Himalaya was absolutely the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen.

Going over the Tholong La Pass at 17,800 feet was extremely hard and could be the toughest thing I have ever done on the bike, but it was an amazing experience that I will never forget.

I was very happy to cross the finish line this year and to take 2nd place overall”

Yuki will return to Japan to recover. In April, Yuki will return to the USA to compete at the Sea Otter Classic and the Whiskey Off-Road.

TEAM RESULTS
Yuki Ikeda, 2nd Place Overall

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