Sunday, January 20, 2008


It's supposed to be for industry people only ...but

Dirt Demo was created to give bike dealers the chance to actually ride the bikes they were laying down money for at the Las Vegas Interbike trade show. The event expanded into a two-day riding extravaganza based at Boulder City's famous Bootleg Canyon riding area that included both road and mountain bikes. Now, Interbike's organizers have planned an East-Coast Demo event to include those who couldn't afford the time or expense to make it to Sin City. Here's the official release:

In an effort to better support retailers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, Interbike announced it will host its first annual Interbike Outdoor Demo East Tuesday, October 21 to Wednesday, October 22, 2008, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Roger Williams Park in Providence, R.I.

The Interbike Outdoor Demo East event is based on the Interbike Outdoor Demo held in conjunction with the Interbike International Bicycle Expo in Las Vegas and will include product testing, National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA) seminars and networking events. The new event is aimed at servicing retailers who do not attend and/or additional staff members who are not able to participate in the Interbike International Expo and Outdoor Demo.

"We recognize there are members of the industry that have difficulties attending the Interbike Expo in Las Vegas," said Lance Camisasca, Interbike's industry consultant. "Interbike Outdoor Demo East is a hands-on, no-hassle, inexpensive regional style event that allows retailers to not only test new products but also educate staff members on the latest trends and network with industry members in a historic and event friendly location."

Manufacturers who have already committed to exhibit at the event include Advanced Sports (Fuji, SE Racing, Kestrel), Fox Racing Shox, Giant Bicycles, Kenda USA, Pacific Cycle (GT, Schwinn, Mongoose), Pedro's Total Bicycle Care and Santa Cruz Bicycles, with more expected to follow in the coming weeks.

"Interbike always produces a great trade event," said Pat Cunnane, president of Advanced Sports "We're confident OutDoor Demo East will be a great event as well and we are looking forward to giving our East Coast retailers another opportunity to learn about and test ride our products."

"The genesis of an opportunity to reach out to the other half of cycling is perfect," said Chris Zigmont, general manager of Pedro's Total Bicycle Care. "We will now be able to meet with the guys and gals who work the shop floor and who can't attend Interbike's Las Vegas trade show because of time and money constraints."

The OutDoor Demo East is not intended to replace Interbike's September trade event, but will include additional events to benefit retailers unable to attend the Las Vegas show. For example, the partnership with the NBDA will bring its popular Super Seminars to the event.

"We've had great feedback on our Super Seminars around the country and attendance has exceeded expectations," said Fred Clements, executive director of the National Bicycle Dealers Association. "By partnering with Interbike at Outdoor Demo East, we feel we'll be able to offer high quality sessions in a convenient setting that will allow us to reach an even larger audience in a region that deserves the support."

Roger Williams Park is located just south of downtown Providence and has been the host city for the 2006 and 2007 National Cyclocross Championships. In addition to being a great place for cycling, Providence is a central location for Northeast and Mid Atlantic retails and is easily accessible by most forms of transportation.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Fastest Learner - Georgia Gould stepped up big time in 2007

At first glance, Georgia Gould's rise to cycling success reads like the same story often repeated in the world of women's professional bike racing. A formerly unathletic woman finds the joy of cycling in her 20s and quickly discovers a deep vein of untapped talent. After some years of solid training and coaching direction, the woman rises to the upper echelon of the elite ranks.

But Gould's rise from novice to mountain bike hero has set a new standard for speed. Now 27, Gould is a former smoker who never raised a finger in the name of athletic competition before her junior year of college, when she started running while studying abroad in Africa. Just three years ago, Gould was a first-year elite racer who crisscrossed the country, racing and living out of her boyfriend's Chevy van. In 2006, Gould won the national championship in her first season as a full-time pro. In 2007, she became a World Cup podium contender in her first stab at racing at the international level.

"I never thought success would come this soon, I'm just going to see where it takes me," Gould told VeloNews in 2006.

Her abilities took her many places in 2007. Gould was in Argentina in March, where she won the Pan American championships. In April she was in California at North America's season opener, the Sea Otter Classic, a race she also won. She traveled Europe and Canada throughout the summer on the World Cup series, where she grabbed her first-ever podium finish and wound up in 7th place in the overall. She was in Scotland for the 2007 UCI world championships, where she finished 9th as the top American. She was in Beijing on September 22 for the Olympic test event - she finished fourth. Most recently, Gould was in Portland, Oregon, where she won the 2007 U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross series.

Gould's rise to the top has been impressively quick.

photo: Fred Dreier (file photo)

Like the country's other cross-country racers, Gould hopes her talent takes her to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. With two spots available for American women, Gould is on the extra short list to go. She needs a top-three finish at one of the European World Cups to punch her ticket.

"I don't think there's any secret to get there. I'm really going to be targeting those races," Gould said.

The Perfect Season
Only a small collection of fans were on hand to see Gould win the 2007 National Mountain Bike Series finals, held August 11 in Snowmass, Colorado. But the paltry crowd was treated to a small piece of American mountain bike history, as Gould became only the second woman in history to sweep the NMBS (formerly NORBA) series. American great Juli Furtado swept the NORBA series in 1993, the same year she came one race away from sweeping the World Cup.

But while Furtado came into the 1993 season having wrapped up the NORBA overall and taken five World Cup wins over the previous two seasons, Gould entered 2007 never having won a NMBS cross-country, short-track or World Cup race. Her victory at the series opener in Phoenix on March 31 was her first-ever NMBS victory.

But Gould followed that win up with a string of crushing victories in Santa Ynez and Fontana, California. She climbed away from the women's field in Deer Valley, California on June 16, and at the Sugar Mountain NMBS on July 28.

"I don't think everyone goes into the races thinking Georgia is going to win," said Subaru-Gary Fisher rider Heather Irmiger. "But she wins by such huge margins that we're all racing for second. It's pretty unbelievable."

Gould's only hiccup came at the 2007 USA Cycling national championships at Mount Snow, Vermont. After weeks of heavy rainfall soaked Mount Snow's trails, the women's race churned the soil into slick peanut butter after the opening lap. The muck was to the benefit of Californian Mary McConneloug, who used her superior mud-riding skills to slip away. As the defending U.S. champ, Gould was not pleased with losing her jersey, but admitted she had given it her all.

"On a course like this it's about who makes the least amount of mistakes," Gould said. "I definitely had a few near misses and a few good saves. Mary made the least amount of mistakes."

Save for nationals, the entire domestic women's field spent the year chasing in vain after Gould, who usually shot off the front from the gun. But it was Gould's Luna teammates Katerina Nash and Shonny Vanlandingham who generally were the closest riders to Gould's wheel.

Not surprisingly, Gould, Nash and Vanlandingham finished 1-2-3 in the final NMBS overall standings for cross-country and short track, with Nash taking the short-track title ahead of Gould. After taking the series win in Snowmass, Gould couldn't help reflect on her season of success.

"I am kind of amazed," she said. "I wanted to be a little more consistent this year. I wanted to be a regular podium contender."

The question is what will Georgia Gould want to be next year.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sex and weight loss

Just like everyone else, cyclists have been known to gain a bit of weight over Christmas or after a non-cycling holiday. Eating good food is one of the pleasures of life and, after all, exercise is the best way to counteract any excesses.

The road to the perfect diet and fitness programme is littered with myths, misconceptions, discarded trends and mixed messages. So, is it true that exercising on an empty stomach burns more fat? And why do men come back from two weeks of cycle touring having shed pounds when women do the same distance but their weight doesn't budge?

There is a lot that we still don't understand about weight management. One thing that is clear is that most men tend to lose weight more easily than most women. Men simply add on exercise, subtract the extra beer, crisps, chocolate and fatty foods, and the extra pounds melt away. Women by comparison complain that they lose a bit of weight, reach a plateau and cannot seem to shift the last few pounds despite regular bike rides.

The reasons for this are complex but include the effect of exercise on appetite and nature's design of the female body. The latter relates to the women's need to maintain a supply of calories to support a nine-month pregnancy.

This is nature's way of ensuring survival of the species, but not much help when your priority is fitness and weight loss rather than producing more young cyclists. Exercise may temporarily dampen your appetite, but hunger usually kicks in after an hour or so.

Exercise and appetite

Exercise on its own is not an effective way for women to lose weight. Appetite is partially regulated by body temperature so if you are hot and sweaty after a long ride or training session, you may not feel hungry for a while. But a tough cycle in rain or a cold wind may leave you feeling ravenous.

This effect of exercise on appetite seems to be different in men and women. Controlled experiments using rats showed that male rats who exercised regularly ate less and lost weight. In comparison, the female rats after exercise seemed to have a lively appetite which stimulated them to eat more and maintain their weight.

Another study, using human volunteers, showed that even without an increase in appetite, men still seem to lose weight more easily compared with women. A group of normal weight but unfit men and women took part in an 18-month training programme (to prepare them to jog and complete a marathon event).

The men increased their daily intake by 500 calories while the women limited theirs to an extra 60 calories per day. Both groups were running 50 miles per week. The men lost about 5lb of fat, the women lost none.

Fat and fertile

Other studies have also shown that exercise, on its own, is not an effective way for women to lose weight. Lean female athletes in particular tend to struggle to lose fat. It is clear that evolution has hung on to the design to ensure that women are fat and fertile while men are more useful as lean hunters.

When food was scarce or fluctuated because of a poor harvest or the effects of the seasons, women developed a mechanism of energy expenditure which is very efficient. As each cycle of famine followed by a feast came round, women became more efficient at storing any available energy as fat and developing a mechanism which would not give it up easily. This allowed women to survive and to conserve essential fat stores to support the next pregnancy.

These days the cycle of famine and feasting is known as 'yo-yo dieting'. The belief that more fat will be burned on an empty stomach has some truth. Before breakfast, your blood sugar and insulin levels will be low. This will stimulate release of fat to be used as fuel during exercise. However, it is the total calorie balance at the end of the day which counts, in terms of weight loss, not just what you burned during exercise.

Life balance

After a long ride, you may feel hungry but also tired. It's easy to confuse tiredness with hunger (especially when you are trying to limit your calorie intake). So it's easy to overeat (especially at night) when you feel tired, or you simply want to enjoy a good meal as a reward for all that exercise you've just done.

Life is all about balance. It is important to balance the enjoyment of eating with that of cycling. If you ride just to burn off the calories, exercise then becomes a punishment. Change your eating habits to lose weight but also change your attitude. Enjoy cycling for the long term health benefits, not just to support a short term diet