Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy 90th Birthday Fiorenzo Magni – Wilier Cycling Legend

Fiorenzo Magni’s 90th birthday brings to memory one of the brightest moments in the history of Wilier Triestina – the win at the Giro d’Italia in 1948.

The squad was determined to play a leading role in professional cycling and team manager, Giovanni Zandonà, succeeded in signing up Magni. That first year, the Tuscan rider won the final stage into Milan as well as the overall classification, still remembered as one of our greatest victories.

Magni rode with Wilier Triestina until 1950, winning 13 of his 81 races as a professional, including 2 of his 3 Tours of Flanders. He is still a venerated icon in the illustrious, threefold tradition of Wilier Triestina as brand, pro team sponsor and bike.

Thank you, Fiorenzo, for leading us into the record books of cycling. Happy Birthday, Campionissimo!

Hillary Biscay Ultraman Report Excerpts

Ultraman Swim: It was still pretty dark–but beautiful–when we got in. I had to consult with Jonas (2x Ultraman Champ and men´s swim course record-holder) about whether one warms up for a 10k swim . . . We settled on a few quick strokes and that was about it.

The 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) Ultraman swim was the only portion of this event that was easier than I expected. My goal was to break the swim course record of 2:46, which had stood since 1989. The swim starts by the Kailua Pier, just closer in to shore than where the ironman starts. And in this race, the ironman turn buoy tells you nothing but that you`ve only just begun.

In fact I didn´t even notice when I passed that turning point (athough my crew informed me that I did so in 25 minutes), and spent most of the swim having no idea where I was in my progress from the Kailua Pier to the harbor in Keahou. I was in a big rush and tried not to waste any time looking around. There are a couple of elements that make this swim a nice and cushy task: each swimmer has an escort kayak to guide the way and to carry fuel and hydration. Maik and I had done this swim over the summer without any aid or escort to celebrate my birthday, and it was a lot more difficult.

... My goal was to start out at a hard, sustainable pace and push the swim the whole way through, and the only time I found myself struggling with this pace was for about 15 minutes before the second of my three scheduled feedings. I attributed this to my needing hydration, as I had rushed through feeding #1 and only had a quick sip on top of my gel. After I chugged a bunch of Endurance during my second feeding, the rest of the swim was smooth sailing–even from the big white Outrigger Hotel til the finish.

This is the spot where there is often a gnarly current, and I had fully prepared myself mentally to have to dig in while not moving quickly through this section. As soon as I spotted it, I had mini-Chris and Marilyn McDonalds in my head reminding me that it was time to “pin it,” as they would say–just like we had discussed in our Ultraman strategy talks. But we had good swim conditions, so this last stretch did not require any fighting.

They also made for my new swim course record to be surprisingly quick. Because the record of 2:46 had stood for 21 years, I figured that something in the neighborhood of 2:40 would be great. So you can imagine my surprise when I emerged from the water to see a time of 2:20 on the clock! Somehow I had managed to break the women´s swim course record by 26 minutes... It was a great start to the race, and I had one of my three goals ticked off the list.

... I was off on my bike for the second part of Stage One . . .

I was just 6.2 miles into the 320-mile (515 kilometer) journey around the Big Island, which would bring me back to where we had begun in just two days. Our task following the swim on day one was to get up to the Kilauea Volcano / Volcanoes National Park from the swim exit in Keahou Bay–basically a straight shot south up the highway, which we are used to riding (in the ironman) out the other direction. This means 90 miles with 7600 feet of climbing, or in triathlon terms, an Ironman Lanzarote-worth of climbing packed into 22 fewer miles.

I thought the climb straight up from the bay to the Queen K on sea legs would be the worst part of the whole race. Turns out I was wrong. I really did not feel too bad following the swim–didn´t feel what I imagined I´d feel like on the bike immediately after 10 kilometers of hard swimming–and per coach´s instructions, I didn´t go out and try to crush the first climb. So it was very manageable. It was actually once I turned right on the Queen K that the road became surprisingly steep for a couple of miles.

The good thing about this first bike stage was that I knew what to expect in terms of the course because I had ridden it over the summer: I knew better than to hope for any relief from climbing except for one long descent around mile 50. But for the first 40 or so miles, I did look forward to this one “break” from climbing, only to have the crazy head and crosswinds to appear just in time for the descent…

It was epic. I could give you all kinds of stats to describe the conditions and course out there, but this snapshot from my lovely Cyclops Joule 2.0 should suffice: DOWNhill, smallest gear, pushing 200 watts, traveling at 11 mph. Again, I am talking about a little downhill on a roller. And the thing about a point-to-point course like this is that there is no turnaround to benefit from a tailwind after grinding through a headwind for miles. When I asked for a comparison of our conditions to those of previous years, my Ultraman-veteran friend (2x champ and men´s winner of the first stage this year) Jonas Colting said, “This was the hardest day of my life!”

… Needless to say, I was thrilled to see the turn into the campground for the Day One finishline. I had won the stage, but it was certainly not the comfortable lead I had hoped for, as I had about 4.5 minutes on Amber and about 15 on Shanna. But it was a lead, and I was 1/3 of the way to becoming an Ultraman…

Day Two of Ultraman is a day of cycling: 172 miles, to be exact. This stage was, for me, the biggest unknown of the race. Not only had I not seen this part of the race course, but I had never ridden my bike longer than 135 miles in one go. The course on Stage Two took us from the Volcanoes National Park for a loop on the Red Road, all the way around the “other side” of the island to Waimea, then up over the Kohala Mountains and down to Hawi.

... I do have in my memory a couple of snapshots of the coastline from this stage and it was incredible! I really want to return when I am in possession of all of my faculties . . . and a camera...

Stage 3, the final day of Ultraman, is comprised of a double marathon on the road from the town of Hawi (known to most as the turnaround for the Hawaii Ironman bike course) back to Kailua-Kona, finishing behind the pier at the Old Airport. 52.4 miles.

... I was truly excited when I woke up (if you could call it that–I was mostly too jacked up on caffeine/ in too much pain to sleep) at 4 AM on Sunday, and I am pretty sure that the GCM realized I was even more crazy than he had previously accepted. I shoved down some brown rice with soy sauce–same thing I had for dinner and one of the couple remaining items I could stomach–for breakfast plus some coffee, of course, and we headed to the start in the dark.

This final stage starts well and truly in the blackness, as it begins 30 mins earlier than the other two–at 6AM. They started us off and I would bet that Shanna and Amber ran the first couple of miles in the neighborhood of 7-min mile pace. I thought we may have all run about the same pace–and indeed at the end of the day we ended up doing so–so this was a surprise as I did not want to start that quickly. But in my limited ultramarathoning experience, one thing I learned is that I can’t “race” until the last miles. So while I certainly didn’t like watching my main competition run away, I had a sense for about what effort level I should be able to sustain over this distance, and just tried to focus on my own race and settle into a rhythm.

... I am not sure if it was the caffeine-sugar high, or the distant sight of the Kona Village resort–which I recognized as being “somewhat near town”–that turned things around, but I emerged from the crater somewhere around mile 36. Ian had a pacing stint around here and I started chatting his ear off, while picking up the pace. Soon enough, there were fading runners ahead of me, and I got to start playing Pac-Man, which of course gave me the illusion that I was feeling even better.

To add to the excitement, Chris Lieto and his little son Kaiden joined the fun about mile 37 and started bunny-hopping me on the course and cheering me on–Kaiden even ran alongside me for a minute. They lifted my spirits even further and definitely helped me keep the effort honest once this renewed solid pace started the legs really burning.

In spite of the burning, though, the celebration I had envisioned did happen during this time. I had a big, huge, runner’s high and smiled a lot at what I had the privilege of doing at that very moment. I was finally doing this Ultraman thing and it was pretty cool.

Back to landmarks: passing the Energy Lab was a big head-trip. Rationally, I knew that in the scheme of 52.4 miles, it ought to mark “almost there,” but I couldn’t help but think of how long this stretch of highway seems during ironman–every time. I must admit, however, that I was running faster here than I was during this same stretch of the ironman marathon this year.

ALMOST THERE ALMOST THERE…….I replaced those traumatic ironman flashbacks. Then I was soon given a new focus with some information from my crew: “you have to make up four minutes on Shanna between here and the finish in order to finish second overall.” At this point, I had not seen either Shanna or Amber since the first miles of the race, and had no idea how far ahead of me they were. Nor did I know how many miles I had to make up these 3 minutes between this point and the finish–but I estimated at the time this called for about a minute per mile. In retrospect, I think I was about 4 miles from the finish, but in any case, it seemed like a whole lot of time to make up in a small amount of miles.

Nevermind: I was either going to do it or die trying! This was the final smashfest of the year and I was supposed to kiss 201o goodbye with a real bang. I did not want to leave anything in the tank; after all, I came to Ultraman to leave everything on the road.

I didn’t realize I had another gear in me, but I apparently I did: Ian said his Garmin read 7:36 per mile during this stretch (again, when I do the math, those must have been some darn slow miles during my crater) . . . And the dying-animal noises were in full effect. Good thing I practiced those in training because I wasn’t alarmed, although I think my pacers and crew were! …

I had not hurt this bad since I had to make a pass at mile 25 to win Ironman Wisconsin two years ago.

But in fact this feeling–being able to push myself to that place–was one of my main accomplishments during this final stage. I finished my double marathon in 7 hours and 55 minutes, having made up 6 minutes on Shanna and thus sneaking into second place overall by 3 minutes.

And while I did not meet my third goal for this race, which was to win, I did achieve my second, which was to break the course record: this means I finished second in the women’s field while recording a time 1 hour and 5 minutes under the 21-year-old course record. Additionally, this was the fastest female debut at the ultraman distance. Of these things I am proud; it was a huge boost to finish the season on this note.

I have to thank my coach Derick Williamson at Durata Training for helping me start to turn things around. I know this is just the tip of the iceberg . . . And then, to all my sponsors: I had been dreaming about Ultraman for six years and it would not have even been feasible to attempt it without your support. Thank you K-Swiss, PowerBar, TYR, ISM, Wilier, Zipp, CycleOps, FSA, and Vega.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Team Lampre Takes Delivery of Cento1 SLR Models for 2011 Season

Team Lampre riders took delivery of their new Cento1 SLR models last week during their training camp in Darfo Boario Terme. On site for the occasion were WilierTriestina CEO, Andrea Gastaldello, as well as team manager and former World Road Champion, Giuseppe “Beppe” Saronni.

The average weight of the carbon wonder frame is 920 grams, and the 2011 team bike color is a stealth matte black.

Wilier’s SL and SLR (Superleggera Racing geometry) stiffness-to-weight ratio is unrivaled due to the use of the world’s most sophisticated materials. 30 Ton carbon is implemented for durability in low-stress areas while the incredibly strong 60 Ton is applied where loads are greatest. Nanoparticle Zinc Oxide resin is used to ensure “low-void” integrity of the composite white the LIT molding process attains maximum compaction of tube walls. That’s not all: the Special Weave carbon skin provides impact resistance and vibration dampening.

The SL and SLR not only benefit from Wilier’s BB94 oversize and integrated bottom bracket design; the implementation of precision CNC alloy inserts shaves grams while optimizing power transfer. The monocoque carbon headset cups are of in-mold construction to further facilitate integration and precision handling while further reducing weight.

The SLR is the perfect mix of technology and style. The Cento1 has proven again and again its ability to win at any level beneath champions like Alessandro Petacchi, Damiano Cunego and Michele Scarponi, as well as all all the riders on cycling's hardest working squad, ProTour Team Lampre.