Jens Voigt Reminds Me Who I Am

From VeloNews

USAPC4_814-044-660x440COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (VN) — In the end, it really didn’t matter if he’d won or lost.

Jens Voigt, the 42-year-old German whose career has spanned two decades, was off the front, alone, battling against the wind, the peloton, and his own inner demons, one last time.

In his final race, in what has been a season-long farewell tour, the fan favorite from Trek Factory Racing was doing what he’s done best since the Clinton administration — suffering, tempting fate, attempting to defy the odds.

After making it into the day’s 12-rider breakaway, Voigt attacked with 40km remaining on stage 4 of the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado Springs Thursday, on the third of four 25km circuits that included a steep climb leading into the red-rock wonderland of the Garden of the Gods, followed by as a short kicker 2km from the finish line.

Voigt’s advantage was never more than 90 seconds over his former breakaway companions, but topped out at a good three minutes back to the main peloton, which consisted of an odd mix of motivated sprint teams and GC contenders.

Teams that missed the move, such as Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies and Garmin-Sharp, chased early, while teams with top sprinters, such as SmartStop, Hincapie Sportswear, and Cannondale, drove the effort late, despite the efforts of Voigt’s Trek teammates to slow the chase at the front.

On a day that wasn’t expected to impact the general classification, there was little question as to what the thousands of fans along the course hoped to see. Signs proclaiming Voigt’s catchphrase, “Shut Up Legs!” were abundant. T-shirts reading “Jens! Jens! Jens!” lined the finishing straight. Voigt had won a race at least once in every one of his 16 years as a pro, and had been winless, up to this point, in 2014. Twitter was ablaze with support for the old man who could, the hard-working father of six; there was a nearly universal desire to see the cagey, charismatic Voigt go out on top.

Within the final 10 kilometers, it was anyone’s guess as to whether the veteran breakaway specialist would hold off the hard-charging pack. The gap had fallen to one minute, and it was coming down quickly.

With 5km to go, the gap was 35 seconds. With 2km to go, and one short, steep climb remaining, the gap was under 20 seconds. Would he hold it, and win one last time? Or would he be absorbed by an unsentimental peloton? And in the end, did it matter?

Voigt’s performance, a month out from his 43rd birthday, had already been a victory of sorts. The oldest rider in the pro peloton had, once again, put on a show. He’d brought the drama. He’d given it everything, against all odds, alone, again. He’d accomplished what he’d set out to, what he’d said was his main objective coming into the race, when he hoped only to have the opportunity to “try one of my stupid breakaways one last time.”

In the end, Voigt was caught inside the final kilometer, steamrolled by hungry, younger bike racers looking to create their own legacies. Cannondale’s Elia Viviani won the stage ahead of Martin Kohler (BMC Racing). Voigt finished 67th, 52 seconds down, completely spent.

Yet during the podium celebration, where Voigt was awarded as the stage’s most aggressive rider, the cheers were, by far, the loudest of the day.

With a hard mountain stage looming on Friday (Voigt said he’d likely hide in the peloton and recover), an uphill time trial on Saturday, and a likely field sprint on Sunday, Voigt had taken his final opportunity, and he’d given his all. And in that sense, he’d gone out on top.

After the stage, VeloNews asked Voigt if — even though he hadn’t taken the stage win — he had been able to soak up the experience of one final, odds-defying breakaway, and if that wasn’t a victory in itself.

Voigt’s response was, like the man himself — energetic, entertaining, and filled with emotion.

“Despite the fact that I was hurting, yes, I was also soaking it up,” he said. “I saw all the signs on the roads — ‘Shut up legs,’ and ‘Farewell, Jens.’ I could hear the people on the road, the fans. And it felt like it was my home crowd. I wanted it like that, one more time in the last week of my career. I felt obliged to show it one more time, to try to win in the fashion they would expect.

‘Maybe, in a bizarre way, it was fitting it ended like this,” he continued. “This is the story of my life — from 20, 30, even 40 breakaways, maybe one works. This was the typical breakaway, you give it all, and you get caught. It was a perfect example of my career — you put it all on the line, you’re taking risks in looking stupid.

“I like today. It was a good day, and I’m really happy that I had it. To be honest, I was a little emotional on the podium. I think I had maybe more applause than the yellow jersey, and I was the closest to crying since the birth of my first child, 19 years ago. I was really close to having tears in my eyes. It was a beautiful and emotional moment for me, and I am happy to one more time be on the podium, with these other amazing riders. I’m happy. I feel like I accomplished something, in my last race. It was a success. I was operational today. I was a force to reckon with. I made it hard for those guys to chase me down, and they only caught me with 800 meters to go.”

Read more at http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/voigts-final-hurrah-top-really-matter_342063#pPT4UukIv9Rww9V3.99

This sleek electric bike is wonderful and could be real, if you vote for it

A clever concept with smart lights and a built-in lock

Originally posted on the Verge.  VOTE FOR IT

A team of designers in Seattle are building a bike that could be your new best option for navigating busy city streets. Called the Denny, the bike concept includes a number of clever features that make it a bit more useful than your average two-wheeler. Not only does it have a removable electric motor to give you a bit of a boost, as well as automatic gear shifting, but its detachable handlebar doubles as a lock, so you never have to worry about bringing one along.

The bike also includes a surprisingly robust lighting set-up: there are integrated turn signals and head and brake lights, as well as smart, reactive lights that turn on based on the lighting outside. "The Denny bike is about returning the rider (and ourselves) to those early days of carefree riding," explain the creators, "when cycling was just about ‘get up and go’ freedom; the reason we all fell in love with bikes in the first place."

Oregon Manifest TEAGUE X Sizemore Bicycle from TEAGUE on Vimeo.

Whether or not the bike ever makes it to production remains to be seen. Right now it’s just a prototype, and the Denny is one of five entries in the Oregon Manifest bike design project, which tasks designers from cities across the US to build their own take on a bike of the future. A concept out of New York features a built-in USB charging station, for instance, while a prototype from Portland has a 3D printed titanium frame. You can vote on your favorite, and the winning design will be manufactured by Fuji Bikes, for an expected retail debut in 2015.

WHY IT MAKES SENSE TO BIKE WITHOUT A HELMET

It is an interesting article and worth the time and thought.  I have read a lot of the linked material over time first and I like how he put this together.  You can click on Helmets in my tags and get a sense of these.  Today, the fact that we make decisions on public policy and relationships based on intuition to be so far beyond a day when we have a discussion.

As I was cycling home the other night I came across a few of my fellow students from … Several of them asked me: Where is your bike helmet?

I get this question a lot. I have made a careful and conscientious choice to not wear a helmet when I’m cycling in urban areas because I strongly believe that it will help improve the overall safety of cycling in the long run.

It’s an unintuitive position to take. People have tried to reason with me that because I’ve spent so much money and time developing my brain, and the cost of an injury would be so devastating, it’s clearly more important to wear a helmet. But if we start looking into the research, there’s a strong argument to be made that wearing a bike helmet may actually increase your risk of injury, and increase the risk of injury of all the cyclists around you.

Jens gets selected to start his 17th Tour de France

jens-voigt-start-17

Originally posted on Bicycling.com

I will miss him when he goes, because he gets me out there every year.

 

What do you know? All of my “most definitely, probably not” ideas regarding racing another Tour de France just went out the window this week when news came that, once again, I have been selected for our Tour de France team! And let me tell you, although for many years riding the Tour was a given, this year I really didn’t know until the last minute.
At the start of the season I just didn’t think there was any chance that I would do the Tour for my Trek Factory Racing team. All year long I just haven’t performed like I wanted to do. And I didn’t perform how I think I was supposed to. In races where I usually perform well, like in the Tour of California, I just really struggled. I was only able to make one breakaway in the final day. That’s all!
But I did start feeling better after California. I saw my power coming back and I started being able to stay with the leaders on hard stages longer and longer into each race. And then in the Dauphine I was much better. I was able to make it into three breakaways during the week. And the Dauphine is a good gage for the Tour de France. We often say, the Dauphine is like a week in the Tour de France. So making breakaways there gave me confidence. On one break, Stage 6, we even stayed away to the finish and I had a chance for a stage win.
That said, five years ago, I would have won that stage with a smile on my face. But this year I could only get sixth. This year, I raced like I wanted, but my body just can’t do the things it used to do. I still can make the breaks and I knew when and where I needed to be in the finish. But it wasn’t good enough. The body just doesn’t follow the plan like I want it to do any more! But still I showed enough to get one of the final spots on Trek’s Tour de France team.
I think my past also argued strongly for me because, well, it really helped that I have just always been good in July. For 16 years now, I don’t disappoint. I can do the job my team needs me to do and more. I’ve proven my reliability. I’m always there. And that was a factor again this year.
In the months building up to the Tour, I was always there. I’m never sick. I’m never injured. I don’t need a special bike. I don’t have a problem because my diamond earring is missing. I’m just the perfect soldier. I just get on my bike and say “Yes Sir!”

You can’t have a team just of primadonnas and superstars you know! You have to have somebody that can do the job before the TV cameras are rolling. And that’s my job. I’m the guy that covers the first break. I’m the guy that brings rain jackets up. I’m the guy that brings rain jackets back. I’m the guy that rides tempo. You name it. I do it. I’m the utility man. I’m the Leatherman tool!
One of my special roles this year will be taking Danny van Poppel under my wing a little bit. He’s a young rider with a lot of talent and we’ve been racing together a lot this year. I can help him a lot with things like placement, showing him when he can relax in the pack or to tell him, “Hey Danny, there are only 20-kilometers to go. We need to move up now. We need to be in the top 30 now because the race is going to get so fast in a couple of kilometers that it is not going to be possible to move up any more!”
So here I go again. Soon enough I’ll be packing up and getting ready for my annual summer vacation in France once again. This will be my 17th Tour de France, and as many of you know, I will then hold the record for the most Tours de France with guys like George Hincapie and my old teammate Stuart O’Grady. Now I’ve always said that record for Tour de France participations never really meant much to me. I’d rather have the record for the most stage wins!
Of course I am excited, and just basically honored to be there again this year. I feel really honored that my team still trusts me and has confidence that I can do the job they expect of me. But also I am frightened. I know how hard the Tour is. I know how many crazy finishes we have. I know how many crazy downhills there are. I know how much suffering I am going to do on those super-hard climbs in the Pyrenees and the Alps.
After doing the Tour for 16 years now I just have a deep respect for the challenge that is ahead of me. You know I calculated it the other day. I will have done nearly 340 days of racing in the Tour de France. That is like racing a Tour de France stage every day for an entire year of my life. All I can say is that I really must a passion for this job. That or I am just plain stupid!

Danny MacAskill – Epecuén – 2014


Published on May 28, 2014

CLICK to explore the town of Epecuén with Danny:http://bit.ly/1oHb7JK

Watch as Danny MacAskill brings a forgotten city back to life with his latest street trials film. Following on from 2013′s mind-blowing ‘MacAskill’s Imaginate’, Epecuén is the latest film from Danny MacAskill.

Directed by long time collaborator Dave Sowerby, we’ll see Danny take his riding back to the roots of trials riding, exploring the forgotten town of Epecuén in Argentina, a location that has been submerged for the majority of the past 25 years.

Pablo Novac, Epecuén’s only resident throughout the troubled times, gives a brief history of the location culminating with his thoughts that he ‘…can no longer see what use this place has for us now,’ MacAskill however has other ideas.

Danny MacAskill is renowned for pushing the levels of both his riding and filming with previous releases ‘Way Back Home’ and ‘Imaginate’ accumulating over 50 million views between them; Epecuén is set to raise the bar once again.

Be part of the conversation by using #epecuen

Larch Mountain Opens Again

Multnomah County will reopen the upper section of Larch Mountain Road on Tuesday, May 27th at 2 pm.

90px-Creek_on_Larch_Mountain-OregonLarch Mountain Road is the highest road in Multnomah County’s jurisdiction, reaching an altitude of 4,055 feet.  Each winter, the county closes public access to recreation areas off upper Larch Mountain Road by closing a snow gate near milepost 10.  Opening the road for recreational users occurs when snow levels decline.  Reopening the gate provides vehicle access all the way to the view parking lot at milepost 14.5 and the walking trail to Sherrard Point.

The road offers spectacular cycling.  For adventurous and technically skilled mountain bikers, this road also provides access to the Larch Mountain mountain biking trail.