Juan Pelota VS El Pistolero: A fistful of words

Sounds like some kind of old school western showdown doesn’t it? With the 2009 Tour de France now over the war of words between Lance Armstrong (Juan Pelota) and Alberto Contador (El Pistolero) has already heated up. Everyone who watched this years TdF knows that Team Astana wasn’t sitting around the campfire singing Kum Ba Ya everynight with both LA and AC fighting for control of the team. While both showed at least a little restraint while the race was ongoing they’ve both come out swinging in the last few days starting with El Pistolero’s deragatory comments and then Lance firing back on Twitter. I love it. Personally, I’m not a fan of Contador. I think he’s got a lot to learn before he comes a great cycling champion (I really just don’t like his grin). The sport of cycling needs a good rivalry like this and, even though Contador is nearly 12 years younger than Armstrong, next year is already shaping up to be a great year of cycling. Now toss in the fact that Armstrong will be racing on the newly formed Team Radio Shack and it gets even better. Who will make the switch to the USA’s newest pro team to help Lance dethrone Contador? Who knows but I’ll bet El Pistolero’s pea shooter that they’ll be gunning for him come July 2010. I’m glad too because somebody needs to wipe that cheesy grin off Contador’s face. What do you think? Is this rivalry good for cycling? Am I too hard on AC? Am I a LA fan...

How to make 2 million dollars in the bike industry

This guest post was written by Jeremy Smith (@jeremybsmith). Currently a web strategist for several industries, including bicycles, outdoor, architecture and planning, and apparel, Jeremy has been in and out of the bike industry for over a decade, with experience at the shop, vendor, and brand levels. I became acquainted with Jeremy last week after publishing my post on The Fleecing of Cyclists. Because of his experience I asked him to write a guest post from the industry perspective and he graciously accepted. Thanks Jeremy. A little about me and bikes. I’ve been working in and around the bike industry for over 10 years, on the both the retail and corporate side of affairs. I’ve also been a plain old bike consumer, struggling with pricing and value. It costs a lot of money to make the niche products that we consume as cyclists as a manufacturer, brand, or vendor. There simply isn’t the volume there to drive down wholesale costs enough to the level of other consumer goods. There’s always going to be the floor of wholesale pricing which is the cost of materials, labor, lights, rent, and so on for the manufacturer. Before I get too far into the specifics of the bike industry, let’s talk general consumer goods retail and pricing. The model varies, but if you take out the razor/cartridge and printer/ink nonsense, in general, when you go into a store, you are going to pay 2x what the store paid for the item. That 100% mark-up is there to pay people, rent, utilities, other marginal costs, and finally, to make a profit. That profit is...

Century Training Series: Day 22 (Week 3 Re-cap)

Yesterday marked the completion of my first three weeks of training for my first century and since Mondays are a rest day it’s weekly re-cap time. For those that are new to this series I’m following the Century Training Plan from the June 2009 issue of Bicycling Magazine to train for my first century ride the last Saturday of September. Along the way I thought I would document the effort to see what changes my body would undergo and to, perhaps, provide a little inspiration to others who might be looking to cycling as a way to lose weight or improve their fitness. Even though the Century Training Plan in Bicycling Magazine is 10 weeks in duration I decided to modify it to a 12 week plan by performing the first two weeks of the plan twice. This week was a repeat of Week 1. I felt I needed the two extra weeks because, basically, I’m not Lance Armstrong on a bicycle. I’m way overweight and out of shape and wanted those two extra weeks to help prepare. I had been riding before the start of this program so it wasn’t like I just decided on Day 1 that I wanted to start training for a century. I firmly believe that if someone decided to start this program cold turkey on Day 1 that they would end up quitting because it is a lot of riding. This past week was tougher than I expected it to be especially since it was a repeat of Week 1 of the Century Training Plan. Perhaps I was lured into a false sense...

Century Training Series: Day 21

Before I could ride today I had to replace my cut tire. I picked up a new yesterday at a local bike shop. The one I picked it up at wasn’t my first choice but the first one I went to didn’t have a single road tire hanging up so you could browse through them. I wasn’t going to play a 1000 question game with an employee to find what I was looking for. So I left there and headed to a shop where I knew they had tires I could browse through. Putting the new tire on was a snap. Today called for a 1.5 hour endurance ride. Normally I would have ridden in the morning but I wanted to watch the final stage of the Tour de France live. Plus I wanted to sleep in some because I was tired and had been fighting a head ache since last night. I was pulling for Farrar to get the win but I think Garmin started too early and with Renshaw’s perfect leadout of Cavendish he didn’t stand a chance. Sad it’s over but looking forward to Team Radio Shack next year. I headed down to White Rock Lake at about 4:30 so I could finish up my ride a little early. Turns out I was smart to go early (raining as I write this) but it was a lot hotter than I thought it would be and the wind was a killer. I checked the weather before going out the door and Weather Channel online said the wind was 2 mph out of the South. As soon as...

Century Training Series: Days 19 and 20

Day 19 – Rest Day Day 20 – Today the century training plan called for a two hour endurance pace ride. I was anxious to ride so I could try out my new bibs. I was up and at the trail riding away from my car at about 8:30. While putting my bike together I saw many cyclists riding up and down the trail so it looked like it might be a busy day. Upon setting out I noticed an immediate difference with the new bibs. I picked up the Performance Ultra II at the local performance store and was happy so far. We’ll see how it feels 2 hours from now. Once the warm up was complete I settled into my 15 mph pace and felt really good. I didn’t ride yesterday so my legs felt fresh and I easily maintained the set pace even on the hills. I again stayed in the small chain ring to keep my cadence high and it felt good. I completed three full loops of White Rock Lake plus a little extra to get my 2 hours in. The ride wasn’t without a problem though. I was sitting at a stop light getting ready to do the last couple of miles to my car and only needed a few seconds to complete the two hour ride. Once the light turned green I got up to speed, checked my computer and pulled it off when it rolled over to 2 hours and tucked it into my jersey pocket. Not ten seconds later my rear wheel didn’t feel right so I take a look...

Why I’ll be a Team Radio Shack Fan

If you’re a cycling fan, and not living under a rock, you’ve probably heard by now that Lance Armstrong’s new cycling team will be Team Radio Shack (@teamradioshack). I for one was very surprised to hear that it was someone other than Oracle or Nike. Now that we know it’s Radio Shack I can honestly say I’m a fan but probably not for the reason you expect. Sure, Lance is going to be on the team and that’s a great reason to be a fan. Radio Shack will partner with the LAF and LiveStrong in the fight against cancer which is another great reason to be a fan. The real reason I’ll be a fan though is because of my Dad. My Dad was an electronics genius. He learned the trade at an early age and held several jobs that saw him develop his skills including installing electrical systems on airplanes and performing electronics work on Minuteman Missiles. When I was a kid he had his own business installing satellite tv systems. As a hobby he was a Citizens Band (CB) and Ham Radio expert. He rarely bought new radios but choose instead to either build his own or repair broken ones he would find at flea markets or garage sales. So, what does my Dad and Team Radio Shack have in common? My Dad was a loyal Radio Shack customer. If he needed parts or tools for a radio or CB he would go to our local Radio Shack store. When Radio Shack would receive returned electronics that were broken, and not covered by warranty, who did they...
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