Random Photos/Video – Cycling in September

Here’s an assortment of pictures/video from my Labor Day visit to the new Taylor Randahl Memorial Trails at Rope Mill Park (Woodstock, GA),  the Out Spokin’ Bicycles setup at the Woodstock Farmer’s Market, and racing at the Dick Lane Velodrome (Sept. 11th).

Next up is the USPRO Cycling Championships.  I’m not working as a mechanic this year, but I will be reporting with live Twitter updates throughout the weekend’s event, including photos, and possibly rider interviews.  You can follow the updates by following @VeloReviewsTech on Twitter.

Motorized Doping – Both Sides of the Story

It’s the buzz right now in cycling… did Fabian Cancellara use “motorized doping” to win Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders this year?  Since this is PROBIKEWRENCH.COM… let’s discuss this interesting piece of technological buzz.  First things first…  let’s explain what we mean when we use the term “motorized doping.”

The phrase “motorized doping” refers to the a bike racer’s use of a bicycle with an internal electric-assist motor to gain an advantage over the competition.  There’s a video on YouTube with over 1.5 million views that shows how a motorized system (in this case, the Gruber Assist) works and, in a roundabout way, shows “video proof” of strange hand movements and their accompanied accelerations by Fabian Cancellara during his two Classics’ wins this year.  It doesn’t outright say that Cancellara used the system, but it does an amazing job of creating that assumption.  Here’s the video:

You’ve seen the “evidence,” now take a look at this great read by freelance cycling journalist Jered Gruber in regards to his photo documentation and personal handling of Cancellara’s bike during his reporting following the Spring Classics.  He does a great job explaining what he observed, and also why the mechanical assist system would not technically work in Fabian Cancellara’s race-winning Specialized Roubaix.  Here’s the link to the article:

http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/4415/Fabian-Cancellaras-so-called-motorized-doping-debunked.aspx

It’s a pretty convincing read, but the video can be persuasive, as well.  It really depends on who you pull for in this certain situation.  If you’re a Cancellara fan, you have to wish that this had never been brought up and you believe what you’ve seen… including his many amazing time trial performances and winning a TdF stage solo from a 1k attack while in the Maillot Jaune.  If you’re a conspiracy theorist, and you still think there was a second gunman on the grassy knoll, then you may believe the Italian-produced YouTube clip in its entirety.

As of right now, the UCI is not pursuing Cancellara for any charges or accusations related to motorized doping, however… they do see this as a possible form of sporting fraud and are taking measures to address the fact that this technology be found in competition bikes.  Roundtable meetings with all of the major manufacturers representatives are being scheduled, as we speak, to figure out how to check bikes for this and hopefully squash this form of cheating before it becomes rampant.

I have a sneaking suspicion that, due to lack of testing and UCI/USA Cycling rules being checked for in domestic races, “motorized doping” will make its way to the US domestic and amateur scene before long.  People will do whatever they can to sneak in under the radar and get a win.  Mark my words… someone will get caught trying to slip this one by race officials soon.

Bike Magazine’s New Editor is…

… Joe Parkin.  The celebrated author of “A Dog in a Hat,” and seasoned professional road/mountain/cyclocross racer, has just taken the Editor’s position at Bike Magazine.

His first book was an amazing piece of work.  It was a great reflection of what actually happened in the drug-ridden European road racing scene, especially in the fast-paced world of Kermesse (kermis) racing.  Having always fantasized about racing on the cobbles of Northern France/Belgium, and training in the rain and under constant gray skies, just to give myself the designation of “flahute,” Joe’s book was a refreshing addition to my library of cycling books.

After becoming obsessed with Twitter, I discovered Joe Parkin is a user also.  If you get a chance, you should follow him there at http://twitter.com/joeparkin.  We’ve become casual Twitter-buddies over the last year or so.  I am constantly bugging him to hurry up with his elusive “Book #2,” which I heard is entitled, “Come & Gone.”  I can’t wait until it’s out… bound to be packed with a lot more of the same great writing that Joe’s first book had.  I’ve read that one three times while waiting for the new book.  Joe also writes frequently on his blog, “6 Years in a Rain Cape.” Good stuff.  Check it out if you want a good read or if you’ve got a question about the pro racing lifestyle.

I’m sure Joe’s work at Bike Magazine will be equally impressive, if not (dare I say it…) BETTER than the work he has published already.  Congratulations, Joe, on the new gig.  We’re all rooting for you.

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