Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Bottles, borracce, bidone!

 Bottles, bottles, everywhere!

What's up with bottles this season, especially at the Giro d'Italia?

The race leader at LeTour was penalized for taking one too close to the race finish and a team director threw a fit (and the bottle to the ground out of the car window) when the race jury told him his rider would be penalized for taking one the other day at Il Giro.

Between those two incidents a race favorite crashed out of La Corsa Rosa after hitting a bottle in the road before the day's stage had even officially started!

So now the cycling-enthusiast press and keyboard experts (at least in the English-speaking cycling world) who comment on their websites are shrieking that something must be done about bottle cages!

Perhaps it's just because we see more of the races on TV and streaming these days, but from our point-of-view there do seem to be more bottles used in pro cycling these days. Back-in-the-day riders used to "train" themselves to do without water, which if course was not the greatest idea, but the pendulum has swung way, way back the other way it seems.

We're not sure if the rules have changed or perhaps they're being abused but it seems team staff are stationed around every corner with bottles for their riders. Sometimes it looks like the feed bags are filled only with bottles! Handing a gregario a series of bottles from the team car to stuff into his jersey to supply his teammates is more rare these days. Instead there's a staff member at the roadside handing 'em up. Trouble is, it's harder to hand 'em up when the staff person is stationary and the rider goes by at 20-30 kph.

Plenty of these bottles end up in the road. Riders toss away the bottles they have in anticipation of getting fresh ones and even squirt out half the contents before putting the fresh ones into the bottle cage! 

These days you see plenty of riders tossing bottles up and out of the peloton and a lot of 'em don't appear to be empty. Loose bottles (whether tossed by riders or falling out of flimsy cages) don't always vanish into the hands of a spectator, instead bouncing back into the road as happened to the Giro race favorite the other day. 
These days many teams use a biodegradable bottle like the one shown above. We've picked a few up from the roadside (very few were empty) and they DO seem more slippery than the standard ones we use while made from much thinner material. Perhaps these don't stay in the bottle cages as well, especially when wet?  Worse, flimsy plastic bottle cages don't help.

If the teams REALLY cared about any of this, they'd use more substantial bottle cages like the one shown above. The maker* claims this will hold bottles on the pave of Paris-Roubaix while weighing just 40 grams. The cycling-enthusiast press whines that something must be done by the UCI but they are as responsible for this issue as anyone! How? When you read a review about the newest-latest bottle holder, rarely is anything mentioned about its ability to hold the bottle(s) it's all about how much it weighs, how cool it looks and how easy it is to remove and replace the bottle(s) while you're riding.

Does the UCI REALLY need to get involved in testing and certifying bottle cages? Those calling for "something to be done"  constantly whine about draconian regulations they see as destroying innovation and evolution of cycling equipment...but now that one of their favorite riders has crashed out a race they were certain he would win - regulations are sorely needed?

Regulations Zio Lorenzo would support would be those to cut down on the amount of bottles used and then discarded. Making them biodegradable is a great idea but why toss so many away to start with? Why give so many out when many are tossed away after the gel packet attached to them has been removed (or vice-versa) or the contents dumped onto the road? Require bottles and other litter be disposed of in specific zones (as has been done by some organizers) or returned to the team car. 

A few fines (and better yet, time penalties!) for infractions of these rules would solve this problem quickly. Flimsy plastic bottle cages that allow the bottles to fall out when the rider hits a bump would be way too risky to be worth the 10 grams they might save in weight.

*Disclaimer: We have no relationship with Elite, this bottle cage just seemed a reasonable solution at no real weight penalty though we've never tried one, instead preferring metal cages that can be adjusted (bent) to provide as much retention as you desire.

Friday, October 2, 2020

MTB by the sea

 MTB by the sea

We brought our vintage (92-93?) MTB's (7 speeds, 26" wheels, rim brakes) down with us from Piedmont a few months ago and Zio Lorenzo finally got around to making them fit to ride again after sitting in storage in the Piedmont Cycling Resort attic for 5 years. The old Rockshox INDY suspension forks still moved up and down nicely and the funky white Vittoria Saguaro tires were not even rotten!!!

The last MTB's we rode were the newest-latest style with 29" wheels and hydraulic disk brakes - but these old things seemed to work just as well, especially without the crazy-wide handlebars and ultra-short stems of modern MTB's.

The cliffs in the photo are just north of us between the rail-trail and the sea. Perhaps a bit too rocky for anything short of a gravel bike but just right for ancient hardtail MTB's like these.

Zio Lorenzo's got some drop bars to put on his to make it a sort of "super-gravel" bike like his old Bridgestone MB-1 from back in the day. Check back for photos when that project is ready-to-ride.

The guy you see here took a nice dive into the sea while we watched though we doubt he could hear our clapping for his demonstration. 

He took another dive as we passed on our way back home, this time up on the rail-trail.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Thoughts on LeTour 2020

 Thoughts on LeTour 2020

Above: Lorenzo and Erica at LeTour 2019

Zio Lorenzo's thoughts on Le Grand Boucle 2020 can be found HERE.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Double Standard?

 Double Standard or ?

Hmm. Watch the bonehead move in

this video clip.

Then watch

this one.

Then tell me why one guy was tossed out of the race while the other wasn't?

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The latest on travel to Italy from the USA


No good news to report:  

Non-essential travel (i.e., tourism) to Italy from most non-EU countries (including the United States) is prohibited. Essential travel is allowed and includes students, businesspersons, EU residents, and relatives of Italian citizens.

  • The Department of State has issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory for Italy recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Italy. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Health Notice for Italy due to COVID-19 concerns and similarly recommends that travelers defer all nonessential travel to Italy.
When this (finally) changes we'll begin publishing La Gazzetta dello CycleItalia again. Until then stay safe!!!

Sunday, September 6, 2020


 Whatever happened to "Larry T"?

jcSaturday, 5 September 2020, 10:34 am

Anyone have any idea whats happened to “Larry T”. I know the TdF is not as good a race as his beloved Giro 🙂 but his rather idiosyncratic view of cycling was always interesting even if I rarely agreed with his point of view.

  • BCSaturday, 5 September 2020, 11:54 am

    Larry has probably felt the impact of C-19 in both his business and private life.

    I am sure he will return when the world has returned to a more normal state.

  • This was not one of the blogs that banned Zio Lorenzo, but one he just stopped posting on along with all the rest.

  • Why?

  • The online stupidity around the Coronavirus pandemic just got too much to handle even on cycling blogs, as previous posts have described.

  • This blog (the name of which you'll have to guess) was full of the same stuff but once cycling started again Zio noted the (now about cycling again, grazie!) comments were no longer anything resembling the thoughtful, civil, cycling discussions he'd previously enjoyed there before it all fell apart with the pandemic. The place now seems more like a bar where drunks just yell at each most of social media!

  • The only bits worth reading there now are pretty much just what the author posts - the comments have devolved into the same old moronic crap found on the more mainstream cycling blogs. Zio Lorenzo no longer posts on any of them and is much happier for it!

  • As my wife says, everything has a time and a place. There could well be another bicycle racing blog with intelligent content and interesting, civil comments, but Zio's in no rush to find it.

  • Just today we were live-streaming  coverage of LeTour and the Italian technical commentator was lamenting this same problem, so we know this is not limited to English-language cycling blogs.

  • Is TV or video entertainment made better when morons at home in front of their screens are allowed to vent their opinions during the coverage? Larry T. thinks not so he'll vent his only here so all 5 of the blog readers can read 'em..or not.