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Road Trip!

Vaughnís Excellent Adventure at the Volvo-Cannondale Training Camp


Friday continued....
This team is incredible. Even if you thought that as an old road rider (like me) you werenít much into mtn biking, you would be really impressed by the skill and endurance of these riders. And you might be surprised to learn that these mtn bike pros have an incredibly high regard for the ability and skill of pro road racers.

My first impression of these riders is how incredibly fit they are, even at the beginning of the season. This is apparent just by looking at them. Not surprisingly, each member of the team displayed the class of the pros they are by politely and patiently answering the questions of the journalists present.

I have to admit, I was pretty awestruck sitting around with these guys, and so I did not conduct formal interviews with them. Instead, I hung out and chatted informally with them. 

Stephanie the photographer getting a group shot. 

Atop the fence, L to R: Tinker, Christoph, Anne-Caroline, Lance

Seated, L to R: Tibo, Craig (Bike & Bean), Cedric, Kashi

In the afternoon I had an opportunity to talk with a number of people.

Jude Monica of Magura Brakes

Jude is a pro bike mechanic from Magura Brakes who assists V-C with their Magura disc brakes at races. We discussed the possibility of disc brakes for road bikes and Jude told me the major obstacle was weight...but Magura is working on development of a disc brake for the road and Jude said would keep us up to date.


Eric Wallace, Team Manager of the Volvo-Cannondale Team

Eric recently moved from event management into the team manager position, and he says it is his dream job. Eric has 16 years of racing road, mountain and cyclocross under his belt, and he is also an announcer for major events such as Super Cup Cyclo-Cross, Pedros Festivals, 24 Hour World Championships. Many of you in the US would know him from these events.


Thibaut Marriaux (Tibo)

Friday afternoon I got to meet with Tibo, the newest addition to the V-C team from France, competing in observed trials. Tibo gave me a short demonstration of his skill by leaping to the top of a meter-tall boulder quicker than I could even see what he did, and then launching himself and his bike six feet from the boulder. The man is a magician. I asked him to do it again so I could get a photo Ė Iím afraid that's the only way I could begin to figure out how he did it.



Tibo and Eric Wallace

Tibo and the boulder

Tibo (Thibaut Marriaux)


Tinker Juarez

Tinker heads the 2001 NORBA National 24 hour solo category and is a recent inductee in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Chatting with Tinker I was amazed by his humility, such as when he mentioned he thanks God for the blessing of being able to compete at this level at his age. And that hopes he will continue to compete at the highest level in the future.

He won his fourth NORBA Championís jersey by winning the inaugural 24 hr. National championship, racing 216 miles with more than 25,000 feet of climbing at elevations above 9,000 ft. Remember, this is on the dirt track, not the road. An astounding feat for a 20 year old, but much more impressive for a man of 41. Recently at the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo, Tinker soloed to a win covering almost 300 miles. Tinker is an inspiration for riders in the over-40 years class, and my nominee for Endurance Superman of the Year.


Anne-Caroline Chausson from Vars, France

Downhill and dual rider; ten-time World Champion Ė 4 times as a Jr. and 7 times as a Pro. Miss Chausson, 2001 World Champion in Downhill and Dual, seems shy at first, but when asked how she would stay motivated for the new years simply stated that when someone challenges her, she is motivated to work harder to win...the true mark of a champion. Never content with secondÖ driven to win. Anne Caroline is a remarkable and lovely Champion who is looking forward to the competing in the new 4X event in the new year.



Cedric Gracia from Pau, France; racing in the disciplines of Downhill and Dual.

Cedric has a world class sense of humor and he kept everyone around him laughing and smiling throughout the camp. Cedric has the relaxed confidence of a rider who could win any race he enters. This charming and funny gentleman will certainly add to his impressive palmares this year and challenge the competition at the highest level. To learn more about this world class cyclist go to his website. Donít miss the photo gallery. Visit his site here: http://www.cedricgracia.com/


Christoph Sauser from Windigen, Switzerland

Another Class Cross Country rider we will surely see more of this year. You should visit Christophís web site. The site has a great Biography (would you believe a resting heart rate of 36 bpm!!), lots of photos in the gallery and donít miss his diary, where Christoph keeps you upto date on his race experiences and great insights on how his season is going.  http://www.sauserwind.com/


Kashi Leuchs from New Zealand

Kashi started out on the road and had exceptional results as a Jr. rider and then started racing Mtn bike. As a Jr. rider he competed in the New Zealand Road, Track and Mtn bike competitions.

His first year as a senior (1997) he was rated 62nd in the World Cup overall, and in 2001 Kashi was rated 8th in the World Cup Overall. Steady progress assures us that Kashi is the man to watch this year as he rides with his outstanding team mates Christoph Sauser and Tinker Juarez for top honors in the Cross Country World Cup. Be sure to check out Kashiís website, and check his Results and Reports section for some very well written diaries of his races. http://www.kashileuchs.com/


Lance Trappe from Budd Lake, New Jersey USA

Lance rides Observed Trials. Entering Mtn Bike competition as a Jr he has improved his standings each year. What Lance can do with a bike has got to be seen to believed. Just watching him goof around on a Cannondale Scalpel (which is not the bike he uses for Trials) made me want to see him ride in an exhibition or competition.

I understand that Lance and Tibo will be doing exhibitions in the US and Europe, as soon as we get their schedule we will post it. You will not want to miss a demonstration by either of these talented bike magicians.


Friday Evening

Friday evening the Volvo rep gave a presentation on the new 2003 Volvo 4WD SUV, which will be a dream vehicle for riders, with advanced safety features including anti-roll compensation, air bags that protect all the passengers and a reinforced roof. When I think of Volvo I always remember the TV advertisement from the 1950ís where a Volvo was rolled down a hill, then it was righted and driven away, a few dents but the roof never caved in.

Soon, through the partnership with Cannondale, you will be able to go to some of the dealerships to see and test ride all the Cannondale bike line. We will let you know when Volvo Cannondale starts so you can be the first to present yourselves to take a spin on the Jekyl, Scalpel, Gemini and state of the art CAAD 7.


 Scott Montgomery of Cannondale gave a presentation of the new line of bikes, including the CAAD 7 and the wind tunnel tests they did with Simoni of Saeco-Cannondale in Italy this year. They found that if he changed his position he could increase his power, and cut 1:43 from his time trial. This closes the gap between Simoni and Armstrong in the ITT. Apparently it hasnít hurt Di Luca either, as he has had a strong start with several victories in the beginning of the season.

The new CAAD7 uses the new Optimo aluminum tubing developed in conjunction with Alcoa, which made it possible to make an incredibly strong and light frame. This road bike, fully outfitted, weighs a mere 16.5 pounds. I was personally impressed by the quality of the finish on the frame because all of the joints are perfectly smooth, unlike some bikes welding (that looks like I might have welded it). The engineering and quality show through.


Scott also explained their technological development for their bikes. The engineers and product development team come up with ideas, they build prototypes, the prototypes are tested by the pro riders to get their input, then the data goes back to the engineers to fine-tune the design. Then it's back to the lab for strength and fatigue testing. New prototypes are designed off the testing, then it's back to the riders to road test.

This cycle is done over and again until the riders, technicians and designers are satisfied they have achieved their goal of creating the best bike possible. Each of these steps are part of an evolutionary process to build a better quality bicycle. A report on the CAAD 7 will be forthcoing with some of the engineering data and testing that was done. But Cannondaleís overall strategy is that by testing and incremental improvements they evolve the highest performance bikes for Road, Mtn, BMX or just getting around town.


They also showed the newest models of the Jekyll and the Scalpel mtn bike models, that have also undergone the same type of evolutionary development. Weíll be doing more reporting on the Cannondale bike development process in the future. You might say that the Cannondale motto might be best expressed as "technical evolution in motion."

Thatís about it for Friday night, except we all went to the bar. The riders didnít spend very much time there, of course. I did have a nice chat with Scott Montgomery of Cannondale discussing Saeco/Cannondaleís strategy for Simoni to defend the Maglia Rosa as he attempts to win the Giro this season. I expressed the disappointment many of the Daily Peloton readers have expressed on the message board regarding Simoni/Saeco not being guaranteed a slot in the the Tour de France. (In the past the Team of the winner of the Giro was always invited to the Tour.) This is especially after Lance Armstrong stated earlier this year that Simoni could be his strongest threat as he goes for his fourth win. I told Scott that I felt Lance was sending a message to the Tour organisers that Saeco/Cannondale and Simoni should be given a berth in the Tour. A mark of a true Champion to want to face the toughest competion.

It is always a disappointment to me that the TdF organisers do not attempt to get all the top competitors on the starting line, and I am sure it is a disappointment as well to the Pro Riders, Teams and Sponsors who have invested their time, money and effort to only sit out the premiere event of the racing season.



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