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Entries in Cycling (29)


Le Tour 2004 for Palm

Le Tour 2004The Tour de France is in full swing, and I've found a real gem of a tool for my Tungsten E: Le Tour 2004. After some review of the app this weekend, I've decided to share more of my thoughts with Cycling fans that are also Palm users.

The Dutch firm Deepweb has done nice work on their little Tour de France info tool. Le Tour 2004 offers a small map of the Tour, city by city listings and distances for each Etape (stage) with relevant stage info (categories of climbs, sprints, elevation maps, etc.), as well as team rosters and rider names.

You can use it freely (with a splash screen) but the $4 price tag seems like a deal to me, considering all of the information provided.

My wish list for the application includes:

  • Space for notes, so users can add notes about stages, teams or riders.

  • More detailed rider information (with black & white photo?).

  • Close up maps of each stage with elevations, so users can see the details. Links to the stage info from this detailed stage map would also be nice.

Mind you I'm not complaining — just imagining what features I'd love to see added to this great little tool. Le Tour 2004 app is already very handy and I expect it to receive lots of use over the next few weeks. ;-)


Le Tour de France 2004!

Just a quickie this Saturday morning... Le tour Fever is here again! Can Lance pull of a 6th straight Tour win? What exciting moments will there be this year? We'll all see as the drama unfolds for 2004.

If you're a fan of cycling and are looking for a way to hear the Tour each day live, check out the official audio stream from Outdoor Life Magazine (Windows Media). I found this resource last year and quite enjoyed hearing the call of Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwin each morning. Made for a nice way to start each work day. :-)

Selected Le Tour Resources:
Tour de France Official Site
Oskar van Rijswijk's LOGos Tourblog
Frank Steele's Tourblog
Frank Steele's Beginner's Guide to the Tour
Graham Watson's Tour Photos
Tour Palm ($4 Shareware Info-app)

Enjoy! :-)


Cold Riding

The first ride of the season was a cold one, but a good one. I spent a little time Sunday afternoon, prepping my old steel framed bike. I added a new cyclometer and checked over the mechanics. During lunch today, I tuned my new road shoes to the bike's clipless pedals, then bought new cycling tights a local bike shop. This evening, I loaded the car and headed West for my first ride of the season.

It was a crisp evening to say the least — about 52 degrees as we prepared our bikes in a church parking lot. Sporting my new cycling pants, I was ready for the chill, yet was amazed to see three of the seven riders in our crew wearing only biking shorts. I felt cold just looking at them.

We departed at 6:10pm, aiming East for hills, which was probably good for warming up our bodies. Some of the leaders stayed back with one mountain bike rider, as he couldn't keep pace. Two faster riders headed off the front and out of sight, while we middle riders chugged along in the cool evening air.

Besides a bit of a misadjusted left pedal, I did decently, especially considering I've not been training for 3 weeks. On a few of the hills I was in my lowest granny gear, churning those pedals, making slow progress. But, it was progress nonetheless. I never stopped on a hill even if my speed was turtle-slow.

For a first time out, and a cold outing at that, I felt good about my performance. I rode 19.88 miles in 1:38 minutes (an 11-point-something MPH average). That time even includes stopping for left pedal adjustments and other group members. Not great, but not terrible, all things considered.

Sometimes it's just starting that's the hardest thing to do. :-)


Cycling Season is Almost Here...

CyclingI can feel it coming. Cycling season is coming closer by the day. It's a matter of hours now.

I love the feeling of warmer weather, sunny skies and long rides on fresh blacktop. I can't wait to feel the warm wind gushing over my face as I descend off of a long hill, hearing the bearings race, the tire hum on the road, the flash of greenery around me and the roar in my ears as I cruise, completely still... down, down, down...

I want to experience the jolt of adrenaline, when my biking buddy leaps past me and I jump on the pedals to haul him back in. Hearing my friend challenging me to catch him and the laughs and back slaps when I do.

I'm waiting for the satisfaction I feel after climbing a killer hill, fighting the incline with every muscle. Pounding down to the the last gear on my ring, then, when I know I'm at the last gear, pounding the bike, myself and the road, fighting and pushing for the crest of the hill.

Most of all, I want to feel the morning greet me. The cool misty air waiting to embrace me. Feeling myself almost cutting through the thick morning air, like knife. Crisp, yellow-orange mornings where the day is waiting to greet me as I wheel out onto the road.

Cycling season is so close now... I can feel it coming.


On The Road (Bike) Again...

My Manta Road BikeAhhhh... today was my first ride back on my good old road bike (my Manta) after it had been in for a tune up and I was away for vacation. It was high time to get the bike in for service and now my old steel frame bike is working like a dream.

It was hard switching to my mountain bike for rides, which is like switching to a Jeep 4x4 after driving a Porsche, but my few weeks on the mountain bike have resulted in some great workouts (due to the heavier bike and more frictiony tires).

Today's ride with my regular cycling friends Brian and Kathy felt so good. Riding the Manta felt like riding on a rail instead of a four-wheel-drive tank! I should probably know the difference between the two bikes by now, but I'm always amazed after extended time on one or the other, how they feel.

Anyway, it will take a while to get back into rhythm on the Manta, but I'm glad to be back, flying on the old road bike. :-)

BTW, American road riders take heart! I was in a local bike shop over the weekend and had a chance to speak with the owner for a while. He said that this year's Tour has excited many other old roadies about riding, so he's seeing many cyclist coming in the store and getting out to ride again.

For my European friends who live where road cycling is enjoying a strong following, you have to understand that road cycling in the US, while still alive, has lost alot to the recent mountain bike craze 10-15 years ago. You can get roadie stuff, but it's just not as common as mountain bike gear, though that is changing, particularly with Lance being such a strong performer the past 5 years of the Tour.

I don't have anything against mountain biking -- I love that too -- but there is something special about road biking which I love and want to share with others. :-)

Oh, one last tidbit on cycling -- we rented and saw the cycling movie Breaking Away last night and enjoyed it immensely. This is the story of a kid who loves cycling and his townie (non-college attending local kid) friends in Bloomington Indiana, home of Indiana University.

The townies are in a running battle with college kids, which intensifies when Dave (the cyclist) falls in love with a university girl. It's a funny movie with some great cycling moments, including an epic race between the townie kids (Cutters) and college kids in a criterium race. I highly recommend this movie!

Okay roadies -- get out there and ride!! :-)