Versions of the shoes will be available for women and for MTBing.
Beyond all the technology already applied to normal Sidi Sport cycling shoes, the T-2 Carbon Composite model features air ducts on the uppers which allow for major aeration allowing the athletes’ feet to dry completely after the swimming race and permitting them to breathe as much as possible during the cycling phase and in the build up to the final run.
Very stylish, even more so in person.
After a broken leg sidelined his competitive softball playing, Mark Miller’s exercise routine took a different direction. During rehab, the athlete turned to swimming to ease the pressure on his joints. Next, he added cycling and running to his regimen, becoming a world-class triathlete. Eventually, that led to Miller opening his own custom bike shop, Precision Bikes, which recently moved to a bigger space at 114 Rena Drive.
|Photo by Robin May|
Miller’s transition from workout warrior to self-made businessman took several years of intensive training, competing and networking.
Twenty-two years ago, the then 34-year-old competed in his first long-distance race with a group of about 20 local triathletes. Gradually, Miller pulled ahead of the pack, putting 50 half-Ironmans, 27 full-Ironmans and 15 marathons under his belt, including Ironman Roth in Germany and Escape from Alcatraz. In 2010, he reached the pinnacle of the triathlete class, competing in both the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and the Isklar Norsemen Xtreme Triathlon in Norway.
“The Norsemen was the hardest one for me,” Miller says. “I ended up having to spend 9.5 hours on the bike that day before I started running the 26 miles. It took me right at 15 hours to finish.”
Along the way, Miller befriended John Cobb, owner of Cobb Cycling in Tyler, Texas, who had worked with some of the world’s greatest cyclists including Lance Armstrong and Greg LeMond. “John Cobb taught me the most about cycling and the wind tunnel,” Miller says. “I owe a lot to him for taking me under his wing.”
For a while, Miller trekked to Cobb’s Shreveport cycling shop every weekend to work. “I just wanted to learn the cycling business, and I chased it for a long time,” Miller explains. After a few years, Cobb offered Miller a full-time job running his main warehouse. A year later, Miller decided to return home to open his own store.
With the help of close buddies Frank Camalo and Dr. George Sobiesk, Miller launched Precision Bikes in a small space at 3214 Johnston St. in April 2004. Another long-time friend and co-cyclist, Ruud Vuijsters, designed Miller’s website. Miller quickly became known for his custom-made bikes and personalized fittings. “I feel that I’m more of a destination place now,” Miller says. “Most of what I sell is for the racer, whether it is for the road or a triathlon.”
As demand grew for his customized services, Miller decided to expand to a larger location.
Last year, Miller opened at his new spot on114 Rena Drive. His longtime employee, Amanda Shone, came with him, along with two part-time repairmen. The 3,500-foot space has two repair stations up front and one in the rear; a showroom with racing and cruising bikes, athletic wear, shoes and accessories and a private room for bike fittings. Bike brands include QR, Cervelo, Felt, Colnago, Pinarello, BMC, Specialized and Linus. Clothing lines include Louis Garneau, Zoot, Coeur, Soas and 2XU. For shoes, Precision Bikes carries Sidi, Louis Garneau, Mavic, Specialized and Shimano.
Precision Bikes is Fit Institute Slowtwitch (F.I.S.T.), John Cobb and Retül certified, allowing Miller to custom-fit triathletes with cycles that move along with racers’ bodies. “I guess the thing that I offer that nobody else does is the fitting experience by positioning people on bikes,” Miller says. “Cycling is my passion now. I love going to work.”
Miller’s reputation in the cycling world grew quickly, attracting customers from throughout Louisiana as well as Texas and Mississippi.
Many professional triathletes have dropped by Precision Bikes, including Chris McDonald, Linsey Corbin, Anna Cleaver and world champions Chris McCormack and Miranda Carfrae. Pros have also taught Miller’s cycling camps in Lafayette and Mississippi.
Now that Miller is living his passion, his next goal is to complete the toughest challenge of them all — the USA Ultra Triathlon. Held in Tampa, Fla., this grueling double ironman consists of a 4.8-mile freshwater swim, 224-mile bike course and 52.4-mile run course. Athletes have 36 hours to complete the race.
At 55, Miller shows no signs of slowing down. “I am the last one of the 20 racers that started with me 22 years ago,” he says in his laid-back, unassuming manner. “I’m now training with guys in their 20s.”
Precision Bikes is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and closed Wednesday and Sunday. All fittings by appointment only. For more information, call (337) 981-7686, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at precisionbikes.com.
In the event anyone would like to order Precision Bikes Racing Team stuff, please send an email to Glenn Richard. Please include following in your message.
* Name – mobile number
* Available sizes, XS, S, M, L, XL, 2X, 3X, 4X.
* Male or Female
* Bibs ($75) or Shorts ($60)
* Tops – Long sleeve ($75) or Short Sleeve ($65)
* Skin Suit Short sleeve ($100) / Long Sleeve ($105)
* Fingerless Gloves ($25)
* Socks ($10) Short, medium, long cuff
* Shoe Covers ($25)
*Prices reflect non-subsidized rates for those who do not regularly race for Precision Bikes.
*Approximate turn around time once uniforms are ordered; 2 months!
*Please make all checks payable to CC Racing, Inc.
*Keep in mind, if certain minimums are not met, the items will not be ordered.
The gravel made a popping noise beneath the lead cyclist’s tires Sunday morning. Four riders chased him over the crest of a hill, the end of a three-mile grind up a dirt road that cut through vine-draped Southern woods. They had pedaled about 65 miles so far. The clouds had slid away, exposing the sun, and it was hot.
“Be safe, follow the road signs,” the race director, Mitch Evans, had told them at the start line. “You just want to get through this thing alive.”
This thing is the Rouge Roubaix, a 100-mile road race that traces pothole-strewn asphalt and gravel inclines past the red brick churches and live oaks of rural West Feliciana Parish in Louisiana and neighboring Wilkinson County in Mississippi. The event, in its 11th year, has generated a devoted following among regional riders and those who find a certain satisfaction in suffering.
“It’s an amateur race, but it’s pretty grueling,” said Shontell Gauthier, 40, a professional racer from Austin, Tex.
Gauthier, who rides for the Colavita/Sutter Home women’s cycling team, taped her race number onto her helmet early Sunday morning. She was there to train, she said, because the distance is longer and the terrain is rougher than any of her professional competitions.
She lined up with about 250 racers who rolled out from St. Francisville, about 30 miles north of Baton Rouge, La., under a foggy sky to test themselves on the back roads. Despite the ruts, few wanted to trade shocks or knobby tires for speed. Almost all rode lightweight road bikes, although at times, many pushed them.
The last stretch of gravel, through the Tunica Hills, tends to do this to people. The land here evolved over thousands of years, forced up as if by a lever by a subsiding Mississippi Delta, its steep grades carved by river tributaries slicing through silty soils.
Racers who were able to stay on their bikes spun slowly through these hills, dwarfed by hardwoods and tall moss-coated embankments veined with exposed tree roots. A man in a blue and white jersey threw his bike frame over his shoulder and plodded uphill.
“Bike racers suffer from this problem,” said Christophe Jammet, 25, an analyst for a hedge fund who came from New York to race. “They like to do things that cause them pain.”
The course was designed to be an homage to the classic Paris-Roubaix road race, professional cycling’s brutal dash across the dust-choked cobblestones of northern France. Nicknamed the Hell of the North, the 160-mile Paris-Roubaix race has been a one-day spectacle of heartbreaking crashes and dogged victories for more than a century.
In that tradition, Rouge Roubaix riders brace for a physical thrashing. Rough roads often lead to flat tires. Descents on gravel raise the possibility of a wipeout or a domino-effect disaster in a speeding peloton.
Staging races like this in the United States remains “somewhat of a novelty,” according to Andy Lee, a spokesman for USA Cycling, the sport’s national governing body.
The Tour of the Battenkill, a dirt and asphalt race held each spring in Cambridge, N.Y., claims to be “America’s biggest and best.” Organizers expect nearly 2,000 amateur and professional riders this year.
The Rouge Roubaix emerged after cyclists from the Baton Rouge area went looking for “absurd, crazy roads,” Evans, the race director, said. Their selection, trailing past open fields and country stores, is part of the draw. Jammet and Gauthier commented on the Rouge Roubaix’s exceptional beauty.
The fastest racers finish in about four and a half hours, and although fate plays a role, fitness and experience are critical.
The skilled cyclists attack the gravel ascents seated, riders said, balancing their weight over both wheels to maximize traction. They stay to the front of the pack to avoid logjams created by slow or dismounting riders. They eat as many calories as manageable, downing blue- and orange-tinted sports drinks handed out by support crews.
Last year, Christian Helmig, a wiry 27-year-old from Grapevine, Tex., who races with the Metro Volkswagen team, did those things and still, a flat tire blow his lead. Yet he called all the gravel “the fun factor.”
He relishes rushing down gravel slopes at 30 to 35 miles per hour, a sentiment, he said, that is not universal among the 14 men and women on his team.
“I know a couple of the guys do not care for those descents at all,” Helmig said.
Support crews helped at least one bloodied rider from the gravel early in the race. The back wheels under many other competitors were sliding side to side, leaving twisting tracks in the dirt.
Chris Mogridge, 37, a developer from Oxford, Miss., said he swore off the event after last year, when he endured harrowing descents and a spent, empty feeling in his muscles.
But on Sunday, he was back, with a video camera mounted on his helmet. He had trained hard on dirt roads and had tinkered with his gearing to make climbing easier. He even lined his tires with a protective product to help ward off flats.
He described his about-face regarding the Rouge Roubaix as almost instinctive.
“You don’t know why,” Mogridge said. “You have to do it.”
“We are extremely excited to announce that we have created Colnago America, which will now be the direct supplier of Colnago frames and accessories in America,” said Ernesto Colnago from company headquarters in Cambiago, Italy.
Transition of distribution services from Veltec Sports to Colnago America will be complete by the end of the month. The company’s top priority is to make this transition as smooth as possible for its retail customers and in the United States and Canada.
“Over the past several years, Colnago has experienced exceptional growth worldwide, but to reach our full potential in the North American market, we felt for a while, we needed to make a change,” said Alex Colnago, Colnago sales manager.
“For the first time in the long history of Colnago sales in America, we will be in a position to have full control over our distribution, sales and marketing. Now we will be able to offer more competitive prices, improved delivery and better service to our retailers and Colnago riders in North America,” he added.
“While we are in the process of defining the complete Colnago America Team, we can announce that our friend Soren Krebs, formerly of Veltec Sports, will be joining Colnago America with sales and general management responsibilities. We are confident that he can lead Colnago America going forward,” said Ernesto Colnago.
Krebs, who served as the brand manager for Colnago at Veltec for the past two years, resigned when Veltec ended its relationship with Colnago earlier this year.
“I had a very positive experience working for Veltec for the past two years. I have the utmost respect for Veltec and the people there,” Krebs said. “When I was offered the opportunity to come work for Colnago, because I had been with them for a number of years, it was quite an easy decision to make.”
Krebs will establish an office and warehouse for Colnago America in Chicago.
Krebs said the location will improve communication with Italy because Chicago is a seven-hour time difference, versus a nine-hour time difference from Veltec’s California offices. In addition, he said Chicago offers direct flights to Milan, making it easy for employees from the two offices to meet face-to-face. And Krebs said due to its central location, the warehouse will offer timely shipping to dealers in every part of the country.
“This is the first time ever in a long history that they are going direct,” Krebs said. “This is very exciting for me and for Mr. Colnago and the Colnago family. It is a new approach for them to work it this way. They will have much more control over marketing, pricing and activities in the market. Pricing will be more competitive because the distributor will not be in the middle. Pricing will benefit the dealer and the consumer.”
Starting tomorrow, Krebs can be reached at email@example.com. Colnago America this week will launch a Web site: