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Stood-Up

For the second time in my life, I felt like an 18-year-old girl standing on a porch waiting for a prom date that would never show up (don't ask me about the first time). No need to read into that statement too much - what I’m talking about is the feeling I got when Sunday's round No. 3 of the Subaru Mountain States Series was "postponed" due to inclement weather. Finally getting a feel for "mountain" weather here in Colorado, I had a good idea Friday night's rainstorm would somehow turn to snow later in the evening. So when I awoke to six inches of wet, sloppy snow on the lawn on Saturday, I

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Is racing getting soft?

By Andrew Juskaitis, VeloNews technical editor

'I'm so lonely...'

‘I’m so lonely…’

Photo:

For the second time in my life, I felt like an 18-year-old girl standing on a porch waiting for a prom date that would never show up (don’t ask me about the first time). No need to read into that statement too much – what I’m talking about is the feeling I got when Sunday’s round No. 3 of the Subaru Mountain States Series was “postponed” due to inclement weather.

Finally getting a feel for “mountain” weather here in Colorado, I had a good idea Friday night’s rainstorm would somehow turn to snow later in the evening. So when I awoke to six inches of wet, sloppy snow on the lawn on Saturday, I figured, “No biggie, I’ll just prep the ol’ race bike for crappy conditions.” And so I did, pulling out the usual prep-for-mud tricks: Finish Line wet-conditions chain lube, narrower, mud-shedding 1.95 IRC Serac tubeless tires, THE front fender, and a tasty dosing of butter-flavored Pam (it’s the only flavor I had). All said and done, I essentially blew most of Saturday getting ready for Sunday’s cross-country race.

My roommate’s laughter made my stomach drop as he informed me later that evening that “somebody pulled the plug” on my race. I double-checked the website and found Zach wasn’t pulling my chain – the race had been postponed because of the muddy conditions. “Muddy conditions,” I thought out loud. “Isn’t this mountain biking we’re talking about here?” Having raced off-road for the past 16 years, I’ve only had one other event waylaid due to inclement weather (and that was actually due to windshield-shattering hail), so this came as quite a surprise to me. Also consider that only a week before promoters felt compelled to continue on with Missouri’s May 3-4 AMBC Big Shark Challenge mountain-bike race (even after torrential rain and 30 people losing their lives in a neighboring hellish tornado attack that week). Regardless, my hot Colorado date had let me down…

After contacting the promoter of the event, I can sympathize with the reasoning (sort of). According to the ranger at the state park where the event was to be held, the trails would not have tolerated the assault of 200-300 racers running hot laps through the mud. A fair excuse, but it got me thinking. First, we’re witness to a UCI-sanctioned downhill event held entirely on pavement (the Red Bull downhill race held in Portugal over the weekend), and now we’re putting-off a cross-country event because of “too much mud?” I hope we’re not going soft here … let’s not forget it’s called mountain-bike racing…

P.S., My sincerest preemptive apologies to IMBA.

The all-Scandium  Salsa Las Cruces 'Crosser

The all-Scandium Salsa Las Cruces ‘Crosser

Photo: Andrew Juskaitis

Enough sour grapes, here’s some good old-fashioned product news:

Salsa delivers hot goods
With initial sightings at Interbike 2002, we knew it was only a matter of time before we would be able to swing a leg over actual production versions of Salsa’s Scandium line of frames.

Its first shot across our bow is the Las Cruces cyclo-cross frame. Using a full Scandium frameset, this amazingly light ‘crosser (sub-3 pounds) is available in seven sizes – 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60 and 62cm. The frame fits tires up to 700x38c, while rear dropout spacing is 130mm. The best part (other than the “Orange Sol” paint scheme)? An amazing asking price of only $600 – Lip Lock collar included. Check out www.salsacycles.com for the complete line of Scandium road, ‘cross and mountain frames, as well as Salsa’s new “Ropa” clothing line.

Don’t call me that
Carry only the tools you need with Topeak’s new multifunction ToolBar.New for 2003, the 68-gram ToolBar comes with nine tool bits and two aluminum tire levers, and fits on your keychain. The $20 tool comes stock with 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, and 6 mm Allen wrenches, a #1 Phillips screwdriver, a flat-head screwdriver, a Torx T25 bit and two aluminum tire levers. Check out www.topeak.com for more info or to order the tool.

Topeak’s ToolBar–keychain friendly

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Color me … colorful
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France, Hutchinson is offering limited-edition “Team Series” versions of its Carbon Comp Gold Elite tire. Available in five color combinations – U.S. Postal, Saeco, Quick Step-Davitamon, ONCE,and Team CSC – the $49.95 tires are claimed to weigh 215 grams each and are only available in 700x23c sizes. www.hutchinson.fr

One final note
Not to get all “artsey” on you, but if you get a second (and $3.95) check out Eric Hagerman’s Lance Armstrong profile in this month’s Outside magazine. I won’t comment on the story, but do check out the photos shot by none other than Anton Corbijn. “Who is he?” you ask. He’s responsible for many of U2’s images (including the “Joshua Tree” album cover as well as just about every one of Depeche Mode’s official images (and videos). Hate Depeche Mode? Here’s an idea–long ride, short pier…

Requests taken here: ajuskaitis@7dogs.com

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