Tag Archives: Big Wheel Racing Europe

24 Hours of Finale 2010, my report… Michael

The Freaks come out at night

So, there’s this race…. it’s called the 24 Hours of Finale. For me, it’s about a 7-9 hour drive from München/Munich to the shores of the Mediterranean a few short kilometers from France and worth every second of it. The region is called Ligure and the town is called Finale Ligure. If you ever want to see a beautiful part of the world and ride on a really great course, this one is for you. On the way there you go through a beautiful mountainous region of Switzerland where they speak Switzer Deutsch on one side of the tunnel and Italian on the other side. A rather bizarre thing that harkens back to the days when people couldn’t go through a tunnel to go from one side of the mountain to the other.

Most of the Los Lobos

We put together a 4 person team made up of two current BWR Europe members (Andre’ & myself) and two non-BWR Europe members (Theran & Christian). Unfortunately, a week or so before the race, Christian ended up in the hospital with some sort of infection and couldn’t race, of course. When we hit Finale, in fact, up until the rest of the team finished registering on Saturday morning, we didn’t know that we were going to have a replacement for Christian. Lucky us though, Steffan joined us to be our fourth man. As it turned out, he was a great addition to the four-some!

Man.... this is steep!

The race for us team folks started in the Plaza of Finale. For the solos, it was the now well-known LeMans run. However, that also had a twist (it was extra long). I was the ‘Start’ guy for our team, maybe not the best of ideas, but it happened. I’d been fighting my rear tire to keep it aired up as tubeless for a couple of weeks and it haunted me. I had to finish the short lap instead of doing the long version and seemingly lost a lap or two instead of getting the 2 that we were supposed to have been given for doing the climb and a lap.

After that, Andre, Steffan & Theran went in succession. The heat took it’s toll quickly as we’re all from Germany and Switzerland where it’s been nearly winter temps and raining for months. The 30 C temps wore me out for sure and I know that the other guys were feeling it as well. So, we went from doing two laps each to one until it cooled down. After that, everything went smoothly until both Steffan and Theran managed to break their light mounts (both repaired with the help of duct tape & zip-ties). The good times continued throughout after that.

I loved my night laps as did everyone else. It was cool and beautiful out. Plus, as the hours wore on, fewer and fewer people were on the course. In the middle of the night you could nearly go a whole lap without seeing anyone. Strange as there were, in theory, up to 500 people on the course at any given time.

In the end, we somehow lost a couple of laps due to scoring errors and what I have now figured out…. I had 414A while the rest of my team had 415B-D. Odd that none of us noticed it the entire time that we were racing either.

Steffen riding through

Thanks to the guys for helping me have a great weekend! Unfortunately, I never caught Theran on film. I might have to see if I can steal a photo from elsewhere to add to this post.

The course is not easy but at the same time I wouldn’t classify it as easy by any means either. Our gear might say otherwise though. I broke my frame on the last lap and Andre’ realized a couple of days after the race that something was wrong with his frame as well. Turns out his was broken as well. Mine is on it’s way back to Black Sheep to be fixed or replaced and I believe that Andre’s Niner will be heading in to be warrantied too.

Right behind the head tube is a big crack


Next year, I am considering doing this race solo. We’ll see how this turns out as it comes closer to being reality.
Thanks to Supernova for the lights, Geax for the tires, Carbo RocketBiciclista, FRM, Chris King, Specialized, Sock Guy, Singlespeed.nl, Independent Fabrications, Crema Cycles as they all made the racing that much thought free and fun.

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Funny T-Shirt and a new Team Member!

A photo of Martin stolen from our friend Phaty.

A photo of Martin stolen from our friend Phaty.

That above photo is what I believe to be a direct response to this.

Waltworks is selling these

Waltworks is selling these

All dressed up and nowhere to go

All dressed up and nowhere to go

In other news, we’ve added another new member. His name is Justin Koppa and he’s another American. If you’re from Colorado or New Mexico you may know him or his wife Angie (who is on Velo Bella race team). From what I can glean, the man is rocket fast. I think that he’ll be another great addition to our team. Maybe somewhere down the road, we can get Angie on Big Wheels as well.

Justin has racked up quite an impressive resume over the years. Check out below (hopefully, he won’t mind me posting this).

NMSU cycling team 2000-02

Raced for Zia Velo 2002-2007 (famous alum include Ryan Blickem, Bob Desenfants, Steve Castillo)

A few 1st place finishes on a 4 and 5 man 24 hour team at Old Pueblo, 24hr Adrenaline Phoenix, 24 Moab
A 2nd place at old Pueblo  on 5 person, beat by a Sue Haywood team by 20 some odd minutes

10th place Solo, 24 Old Pueblo, Tinker won it, Dave Harris 4th, I was only 1 lap out of 3rd, rode it with  tubes and slime, wish I had stans wheels then.
NM state champion Expert 20-29

1st place Duo 12hr Dawn til Dusk, Gallup NM

1st Amatuer NORBA marathon (where I got my semi-pro upgrade)

9th GC Tour of Gila cat 4 ( use to do a few local road races each year)

while in Grad School, competed at Collegiate MTB nationals in Angel fire again for NMSU, got 15th or 17th in shorttrack, then broke the rear derailleur off in the XC.

I have not only been on the racing end of things, I have also promoted races.  As a member of the NMSU cycling team, 99 or 2000, started the Tortugan Torture race around “A” mountain, then the next year we added a short track.

Promoted the Hillsboro road race, part of the NM road series, when it was in existence.

Started the Horny Toad Hustle in 05, part of the New Mexico Off Road series, then in 06 it was the NORBA State Championship race for New Mexico.

Promoted a 4 race cyclocross series in Las Cruces as la Lorana park on the Rio Grande river in 2006.

Somehow… I think there’s many good things in his future too.

Welcome to Big Wheel Racing Justin!

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Ergon….a thing that we love

My (Wunnspeed) Ergon Love going on

A boy (namely me) and his gloves

As you can see from the above photos….I’m an avid Ergon fan. Big Wheel Racing picked up Ergon as a sponsor in ’08 and we’ve never looked back. We’re also proud to call them a sponsor for 2009. Woohoo! Seems that people on the team really love the quality, fit and feel of the things that Ergon produces. Seems that everyone has some unique way of using the packs for many things.

In the photo on the left, you can see my team Ergon team colored BD2 Backpack and the GP1 Leichtbau grips as well. In the photo on the right, you can just see my gloves. I’m lucky enough to live in Europe where these gloves (the HM1) are available.

Now, let me tell you a few things about these products. First, the grips. I’m primarily a singlespeeder. Also, I ride mostly without suspension so my hands can get quite tired and used to fall asleep after many hours in the saddle. Since I installed the GP1 grips on my bikes, I’ve not had any problems whatsoever. In fact, I’ve spent up to 8-9 hours in the saddle mtb touring in the Dolomites without a hint of a problem.

Ergon makes grips in many different configurations and also in various sizes. What that means to you is that you can choose what size, shape or color works for you. You can also get them with barends of various shapes and materials (i.e. Carbon Fiber, Magnesium, etc.).

The pack… in a word…. FANTASTIC!

Let me give you an idea of what some of the other team members have to say about Ergon products too.

Matt and Ergon working together

Matt and Ergon working together

Matt Turgeon says… “Ergon changed the entire way I brake and hold onto the bike.  At the onset of the 2008 season I did obtain a set of Ergon GP1 grips but did not know how to use them.  I tried to still hold onto the grips with my smallest two fingers and then brake with the larger two.  In early March I had an accident and ended up breaking 4 fingers, 2 in each hand.  Recovery was difficult as I just could not hold onto the bars effectively, much less even try to use the brakes.  A freidn familiar with the Ergon grips taught me how to properly hold the handle bars – with the index finger and thumb and then change to middle finger only braking.  The change was AMAZING!  With no pressure placed on the smallest two fingers anymore (which are also the weakest gripping fingers) my arms became more relaxed and my upper body no longer was prone to fatigue.  Ergon is so far ahead of the curve and I love my GP1s!”

Andrew and Ergon

Andrew and Ergon

Andrew's Ergon on the White Rim

Andrew's Ergon on the White Rim

Andrews pack on the White Rim

Andrews pack on the White Rim

Andrew Carney says… “The Ergon BD2 is hands down the best hydration pack I’ve ever had on my back. The Ball-Link (FLink) system allows the pack to move with you and your movements as your ride. Long gone are the days of packs riding up or shoulder straps hindering upper body movement. It’s a sensation that truly has to be experienced to fully comprehend because you’ll never know how good a pack can feel until you’ve had an Ergon on your back.  Inside the pack are countless little organizational details such as compartment separators, organizers, and an integrated rain fly. If you ride with a pack for long or short rides, a Ergon BD2 will be a vast improvement over traditional hydration packs in terms of both comfort and function.

I’ve been using Ergon grips for 2 years now and it was love at first grasp. The wing shape of the grip vastly reduces hand fatigue over long rides and provides many different hand positions. I prefer the GR2 with bar ends because they provide additional hand positions and leverage when I need it. I have a set of Ergons on every bike I own and no bike is complete without a set. Even if you’ve never experienced hand pain or fatigue on traditional grips, a set of Ergons will drastically improve both your comfort and control level while on the bike.”

Jeni Turgeon says… “The Ergon pack has got to be one of the most versatile pieces out there. It fits well to the back and allows you to stash tons of items either in the pack or outside and on it! ” and “No more sore hands with the Ergon grips!”

…and in the “Probably not what Ergon had in mind but we used their packs for it anyway file”…..

Devin Curran says… “I once attached a rear 29″ wheel to mine and rode home 9 miles from work…” Devins photos below.

Devin's BD2 backpack and his Spot.

Devin's BD2 backpack and his Spot.

Looking over Devin's Ergon grips at the road ahead

Looking over Devin's Ergon grips at the road ahead

Matt using his as a utility pack

Matt using his BD2 as a utility pack

Matt with the same BD2 out for a hike

Matt with the same BD2 out for a hike

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Welcome to Big Wheel Racing the European version.

Welcome to the European version of Big Wheel Racing. Starting in late 2008 or early 2009 we’ll have a team of 29’er & 700c racers in Europe flying the Big Wheel Racing Banner along with a host of new European sponsors.

As I wanted to get this rolling, I thought that I’d post a new blog for the upcoming team and mention that we’re looking for sponsors and riders. If you’re interested, shoot me a message through the website (unless you already have my email address).

Thanks a bunch,

Michael Cleveland

(aka Wunnspeed)

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