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TDF Stage 2

   Posted July 02, 2012 - Permalink
   by Brad
   to: Races & Events

Stage 2 of the Tour de France was today. It was a relatively flat course that ran 207.5 km from Vise to Tournai. All 198 riders took the start, though some were a little worse off than before. Note-able among the injured are Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) suffered a fractured scaphoid, Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) who broke a bone in his left hand and Anthony Roux (FDJ-Big Mat) with broken fingers.

The break was away after only 24 km riden. Only three riders went off the front this time - Anthony Roux (FDJ-Big Mat) , Christophe Kern (Europcar) and Polka Dot Jersey holder Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff). The three gained a maximum of 7:40 before the filed decided that that was a little too much and brought them down to between 5-6 minutes and let it hang there until the call to catch them went out. Kern and Roux got caught with 29.7 km to go and Roux remained about a minute out until he was finally caught with 14 km left. I do have to say that I always hope that the breakaway will stay away....but when they are caught there is just something majestic about the way that the peleton swallows them up.

With the breakaway being caught it was now up to the sprinters teams to take over at the front and lead the strong men to the finish. At one point they covered 1 km in 53 seconds....and they also covered twice the miles of my commute to work - 5.5 miles for me and 11 for them - in less time then it takes me to get to work....there is no way that I could ever imagine going that fast in that tight of a group. The skills that these pro athletes have just continues to amaze me. After all was said and done Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) took his 21st Stage win of the TDF and did so without any sort of lead out. I always love to watch Cavendish in the sprint...such pure power it is amazing. Hopefully the TDF doesn't take too much out of him and he can kill the Olympic race.

Check out the last couple of km's in this video - Stage Two Final

What a great day to watch some bike racing!

   Posted July 01, 2012 - Permalink
   by Brad
   to: Races & Events

Man...what a great day today was to be a fan of bike racing. Not only did we have Stage 1 of the Tour de France, but we also had the MTB World Cup Downhill #5. And I must say that both - or all three - races did not disappoint at all!

Let us start with Stage One of the Tour de France. Stage One was a 198 km stage that ran from Liege to Seraing. Immediately from the gun a breakaway of 6 riders took off. These 6 stayed away for the majority of the race and in fact did not get caught until the 179th km. With the field all together it was looking like we might have a bunch sprint....but the finish was not a flat finish and had a nasty little up-hill kick to finish it off. And those last 2 km did not disappoint at all. Fabian "Spartacus" Cancellara (RadioShack) took the Yellow Jersey and the lead with just 1.5 km to go. The only two people that could follow him was Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky). Neither Sagan or Hagen would help Spartacus and this allowed Sagan to take his first TDF stage win (one of many for this young talent) and his 14th win of the year. Spartacus took second and was able to hold onto the Yellow Jersey. The last 2 km are worth a watch...just to see what these guys can do - Final 2 km Stage One I have a feeling that this is going to be a great Tour de France...especially when my man wins and Mike is treating me to a night out!!

So with the TDF out of the way it was time to tune into to watch the 5th stop for the UCI World Cup Downhill in Windham NY. Sadly enough I was at work while this was happening and was not able to watch what was going on. So I had to watch the replay and just read about. Rachel Atherton (GT Factory Racing) took the top spot by 0.262 seconds over Tracy Hannah (Hutchinson United Ride). Emmeline Ragot (Ms Mondraker Team), Emilie Siegenthaler (Scott11) and Myriam Nicole (Commencal/Riding Action) finished off the podium. And check out Emmeline Ragot hitting the dirt at the end of her run....OUCH (Thanks Vital MTB!!!). Emmaline was only 0.307 seconds out of 1st place....I wonder if she would have made that last jump if she would have won....In the overall Rachel Atherton is beating Emmeline Ragot by 30 points and Myriam Nicole is in 3rd 199 points back

And what about the men? Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) took the win (his fourth of the year!!) ahead of Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing), Gee Atherton (GT Factory Team), Danny Hart (Giant Factory Off-Road Team) and Loic Bruni (Lampierre International). Mar Beaumont had a nasty crash - This is going to leave a mark! and you can check out Aaron Gwin's amazing winning ride here - Aaron Gwin's Winning Run

All in all it was a great weekend to watch bike racing and enjoy this amazing sport that we all love! Thanks for reading!

Let the fun begin

   Posted June 30, 2012 - Permalink
   by Brad
   to: Races & Events

The grinder on the coffee pot went off at 6:30 today....and to say that I jumped out of bed when it started grinding would be an understatement, because I was out of bed in a flash grabbing the remote and hitting the magic on button....soon the smell of fresh brewed coffee and the glorious voices of Paul and Phil filled my house. Yes that is correct my was the start of the 2012 Tour de France.

The Tour almost always starts with a Prologue - a short, individual time trial. This year the Prologue was held over 6.4 km (3.98 miles) in Liege. Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) held the lead for most of the day and it looked like his team-mate Tony Martin (current World Time Trail Champion) was going to take over when he posted the best time at the half way mark....but Martin had a mechanical and needed a bike change. The mechanical cost Martin at least 20 seconds and also the win. Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling) was the first person to top Chavanel on the leaders board and it was by tenths of seconds that he took over. The amazing thing about this was that Wiggo was down 6 seconds at the mid-way point, so he really turned it on for the last half. Then Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) took to the course and what a ride he put in....fastest at all check-points and topping Wiggo by 7 seconds!!!! Spartacus was on form today!! The final rider to start was Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team). The defending champ did a good ride and finished the day in 13th position. So Spartacus goes into tomorrows 1st Stage in yellow, American Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing) will start in the White Jersey of best young rider and our two main favorites - Evans and Wiggins - sit 10 seconds apart from each other. Let the fun begin!

So for the last couple of years Mike and I have bet on who will win the tour. I don't have an exact win-loss count, but I think that I am up by one or two and I am hoping for another win this year. Mike picked Evans and I picked Wiggins. Normally we go for the winner, but this year we are going for who will beat the neither Evans or Wiggins have to be in yellow at the end...they just need to finish. So Evans lost 10 seconds to Wiggo over the 6.4 km ITT...roughly 1.5 seconds per km....with another 95 km of ITT remaining in the race....if they ride the same way that gives my guy about 2.5 minutes over Evans....Seeing that they are both decent climbers, I will take this 2.5 minutes!!!

So who do you think will win the Tour this year? Do you have a favorite? Is there any stage that you are looking more forward to? Any thoughts on the Polka Dot and Green Jersey winners this year?

Sometimes I Ride To....

   Posted June 28, 2012 - Permalink
   by Brad
   to: General Bike
About a month or so ago I stumbled upon the web-site Handlebar Mustache. I really have no idea how I got there...but I think that it was linked off another blog that I read on a daily basis. I spent a little time looking around the site and I fell in love with this tee that they had - Sometimes I Ride To... I don’t own one yet...but I wear an XL and my birthday is only 5 months away (hint hint). So why do I like this shirt so much???

I have been commuting to work by bike for the last 12 years or so. And I do it no matter what the weather. At my last job before UC people (the same ones actually) would always be amazed that I road in the rain or cold. They could never understand why I just wouldn’t get in my car and drive. I would try to explain to them why I ride - "Because I have to" just didn't click to many I was obviously not ever able to explain it the correct way, the way that I had wrapped my head around it...and I wish that I would have seen this shirt 12 years ago...because then I could have said that “Sometimes I ride to remember and sometimes I ride to forget.” Because that is exactly why I ride. The bike is my way to deal with the good, bad and ugly of life. If I am having a horrible day or have something major on my mind, I always feel better after putting in some miles on the bike. I can just go out there and put all of that energy into the pedals and watch as it flows away. By the time I get home or to work I feel 100% better and am able to go about the remainder of my day in a good or better mood. And some of the best times I have had have been while riding my bike - I still smile thinking about these rides right now. In fact some of my best friendships have developed while on the bike.

So why do you ride? Is there something that you are trying to forget? Something that you are trying to work through? Somebody that you are trying to remember or forget?

What is a cyclist?

   Posted June 26, 2012 - Permalink
   by Brad
   to: General Bike
This blog came about for several reasons. The first is a song The Lounge by Asher Roth that keeps popping up on my commute to and from work. The second was a conversation at work that did not start off being about cycling, in fact didn’t ever really turn to cycling...but being a cyclist was talked about. And finally all of our wonderful customers that we get to interact with on a daily basis and all of the people out on their bikes. And it was sort of a perfect storm of all three of these aspects that made me sit down to write this.

So in the song Asher is basically asking what makes a rapper, as he does not fit into the typical mold for a rapper....and that just got me thinking about all of the amazing people that I see on bikes every day - let it be noted that this all happened during Pedalpalooza month here in Portland. A short side note Pedalpalooza is described the following way - “Pedalpalooza is 3+ weeks of bikey fun. With 298 different events, most organized by individuals, bikers of all persuasions are likely to find many events of interest. Nearly all events are free.” Then the conversation at work...again not talking at all about cycling, but it was brought up....and on that same day we had a customer that said to me - “I am not a cyclist” - even though they had road into the shop. So it all just got me thinking about “What makes a person a cyclist?”

And I really think that Portland answers that question every single day. Daily you will see riders in full team kits on race bikes next to the person on the used bike in jeans and a hoody and right behind them is the rider on the dirt jumper and then the rider on the mixte who just got finished getting groceries after work. And it just goes on and on.

So when I think about what makes a person a cyclist....the only real answer that I can come up with is that they ride a bike. And I truly think that is all that is really needed....just to get out and ride and have a good time while doing it. Do you agree or do you think that there is something more needed? What do you think makes a cyclist?

Welcome to the Universal Cycles Blog

   Posted June 24, 2012 - Permalink
   by Brad
   to: Site Updates

Hello and welcome to the Universal Cycles Blog! I thought that I should take a few out to introduce myself to you all. As you can see by the author note at the bottom (now don't skip there just yet!) my name is Brad. I may sign off using BB or BC at times, so just be aware that Brad, BB and BC are all the same person - ME!

How about a little work background first....I have been working at Universal for the five months now - though I did sell my first product for Universal about 8 years ago when they were still out by the airport (I'll talk more about this one later). Before that I started at Universal I spent roughly 11 years working on the manufacturing side of the bike world. I spent time working with some of the best bicycle companies out there making frames and also parts (two separate companies). Before that I worked in a couple of bike shops across the US. All said I have spent all but one year of my working life in the bicycle industry and it is something that I just love being apart of!

Hmmm...I started writing bullet points out for the bikes that I have or had...but it was getting way too long. So know that I have single speed mountain bikes, full suspension mountain bikes, road bikes, cross bikes, and fixed gears. I am only missing out on a 6" travel bike and a DH bike....but I don't know when or if those will ever get added to the stable. I ride the fixed gear 99% of the time and I love fact it is often asked if I know the limits and intended use of my I tend to do a little bit of everything on all of them!

So that is me and I am sure that as time goes on I will put more and more info out there...but for now you at least have a general knowledge about me. I am not sure how often we will be up-dating this, but I hope often and I hope that we amuse, entertain and educate you!


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