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It’s officially cycling season and time for the April 2014 edition of La Gazetta delle Granfondo – the official online newsletter of the Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan (PGAMO).

Cops For Cancer BCAs part of our commitment to supporting community and charitable programs, we’re proud to announce our partnership with Cops for Cancer, an exciting annual fundraising initiative that takes place across Canada each year. This year, as many as 30 first responders will ride the 2014 Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan (PGAMO) in support of the Canadian Cancer Society and Camp Goodtimes, a Lower Mainland summer retreat for children with cancer and their families. Our Cops for Cancer riders hope to raise $30,000. While a cure for the deadly disease has not been found, great strides have been made in treatment options.

Confirmed Penticton riders include: Cpl. Brian Burke, Cpl. France Burke, Cpl. Brad Caruso and Cpl. Warren Kraft of the Penticton RCMP, as well as Penticton Search and Rescue’s Mike Porter. These local cyclists will join Insp. Brad Haugli (the former officer in charge in Penticton), and many other first responders. Donations can be made online here (click on the “Donate” menu item on the top right corner).

For more info, check out a story profiling the Cops for Cancer initiative featured earlier this month in the Penticton Western: http://www.pentictonwesternnews.com/community/253829391.html.

The Cops for Cancer program joins the Axel Merckx Youth Development Foundation – a not-for-profit initiative established in 2011 to help develop and steward the future of Canada’s young cyclists – as the chosen charities for this year’s Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan. Find out more here: http://www.granfondoaxelmerckx.com/charities.


Meanwhile, preparations for this year’s event are heating up. Here are some of the hot topics:

Prefondo (April 26th – Penticton, B.C.): Only a few spots remain for the Prefondo Training Ride in 11 days. This complimentary BONUS event is open to anyone who registers for the 2014 Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan (PGAMO). For more information, visit: http://www.granfondoaxelmerckx.com/prefondo.

Penticton Ramada: Our host hotel of the 2014 PGAMO, the Penticton Ramada, is officially sold out for Granfondo Weekend. If you’re looking to train in Penticton before the big event, they offer registered riders amazing rates until June 14, 2014. Registrants can take advantage of rooms at $79 per night (plus taxes), based on single and double occupancy. To book, visit them online at: www.pentictonramada.com, e-mail: reservations@pentictonramada.com, or call: 1-800-665-4966 to reserve your room.

Other local hotels are filling up fast. Reserve your accommodations today. Okanagan Reservations Inc. offers a “one-stop-shop” for all your travel needs. Accommodation options are available to meet everyone’s budget, from economical to superior rated lodgings. Call 1-800-663-1900 or e-mail: sales@okres.bc.ca to book.

Congratulations to our contest winner: Granfondo rider and Calgarian, James Foster, was randomly selected as the winner of the Ultimate Cyclist Getaway, consisting of a trip to the 2014 Amgen Tour of California and a ride in the Bissell Development Team car with Axel Merckx. More contests coming up soon…

Kelowna Cycle Granfondo Prep Clinics: Kelowna Cycle offers a great series of clinics to help riders develop bike skills and general fitness for this year’s 2014 PGAMO. If you live in the Kelowna area, check them out. The next clinic occurs on Monday, April 21st from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Kelowna Cycle Pandosy. For more details, visit: http://kelownacycle.ca/ai1ec_event/monday-night-ride-well-smile-often-fondo-clinic/?instance_id=578.

Volunteer for the 2014 PGAMO: Volunteers play a key role in creating an unforgettable experience for athletes, spectators, and tourists from all over the world who will attend this great event. You – or someone you know – can volunteer in a broad range of roles, such as registration, set-up, food station, clean-up, medical, course support and more. Roles are now posted on our Volunteer page (http://www.granfondoaxelmerckx.com/volunteers).

Register for 2013 Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan
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Swagman King of the Mountain Challenge

Do you have what it takes to capture the polka dot jersey?

On July 13th, the 4th annual Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan (PGAMO) will feature the Swagman King of the Mountain Challenge. Riders in the Cortofondo (55 km), Mediofondo (92 km) and Granfondo (160 km) categories will be able to challenge for the fastest climber award on the Okanagan’s Peach Orchard Hill climb, approximately 25 km into the mass participation ride.

Top male and female climbers in each 10-year age group will receive a limited edition Swagman KOM Polka Dot Jersey, as well as a Swagman Semi 2.0 platform bike rack.

Swagman

“The goal of the Swagman King of the Mountain Challenge is to generate excitement among all participants in this year’s Granfondo,” says Axel Merckx. “We’re extremely fortunate to have Swagman onboard this year, and some of our top climbers this year will walk away with some amazing products from this great sponsor.”

“Swagman is honoured to be the King of the Mountain Sponsor for the Prospera GranFondo Axel Merckx Okanagan. I personally have participated in this event for the past two years and believe this course is one of the most beautiful riding routes in North America. Our Semi 2.0 is our top of the line hitch-mounted, zero frame contact rack, perfect for the caliber of bikes that ‘Fondo cyclists are used to riding. We look forward to welcoming all participants in this incredible event to the Okanagan Valley,” says Swagman’s director of sales, Dave Michael.

For more information, visit: http://www.granfondoaxelmerckx.com/swagman-king-of-the-mountain-challenge.php

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PGAMO Swag: Rider Wallet

Each rider in this year’s Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan (PGAMO) will receive a complimentary sweat- and water-resistant cycling wallet. The wallet easily holds a smart phone and ID (in case of emergencies), $25 in cash (in case of a sudden pastry and coffee stop), and your Cycling license. All this, and it neatly fits into your jersey pocket.  

And that’s not all. We’ll soon announce more rider swag – including the commemorative “Ride Hard. Smile Often.” technical t-shirt, and Trek signature item. Plus, we have one more Trek bike to give away to a lucky registrant!

PGAMO Wallet

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Sponsor Spotlights + Contests

This month we celebrate all of our sponsors who help make our event one of the best in North America. Many of our partners represent the best names in sport, tourism, and hospitality. Each time we sign-up a new sponsor, our event improves and your experience as a rider ultimately improves. As well, our volunteers are well cared for by our partners with event-day food, volunteer t-shirts, etc.

In the month of April, many of our sponsors are featuring some great contests, promotions, and exclusive opportunities. Check them out:

I.    Swagman is featuring a photo contest that could win you a pair of Classe Speciale entries to this year’s event (including an Alé premium cycling kit and a bottle of Le Vieux Pin Le Cycliste Blanc wine), as well as 3-nights accommodation and return airfare from any major city in North America to Penticton, B.C. All you need to do is submit your favourite road ride photo here: http://woobox.com/rckef8. There are also weekly prizes, so enter early! The contest closes April 22nd.

Swagman Contest
II.    When you’re next in Penticton, drop by The Bench Market – one of our newest, and certainly tastiest, sponsors – and enter to win one of two entries to this year’s 2014 Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan. Stop by for some upper-level comfort food, enter the contest and start training! Enter by the end of April.

Bench Market Contest
III.    Interested in a cycling camp in Boulder, Colorado; or Mallorca, Spain; or Greenville, South Carolina? A Trek Travel ride camp is unlike any bike excursion you’ve ever taken, from the first clip-in to final farewell. Best of all, each 2014 PGAMO rider receives a promotional discount on one of Trek Travel’s many Ride Camps. To register for a Trek Travel Ride Camp, visit: http://www.trektravel.com/trip-type/ride-camp and enter the discount code: 14 Axel Gran Fondo.

Trek Travel
IV.    Finally, our official wine sponsor, Le Vieux Pin, now offers their recently bottled Le Cycliste Blanc wine for sale. Visit them in the Okanagan or order online at: http://www.levieuxpin.ca/product/blanc-rose/2012-le-cycliste-blanc/. Of course, all Classe Speciale riders receive a complimentary bottle of this signature wine.

LVP Le Cycliste
In the next few months, we’ll unveil some more promotions from our sponsors and partners…so stay tuned. In the meantime, visit our sponsor page and join us in supporting these wonderful companies and brands: http://www.granfondoaxelmerckx.com/sponsors
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Axel's Corner: Gearing up for the Season 

You must all know by now that my friend, Trevor Linden, has been named the new president of hockey operations for the Vancouver Canucks. It’s really exciting to see him receive the trust of what I know he considers his “family.” I think it was really smart of him to take a break after his playing career and catch his breath. With a fresh mind he will go to work and rebuild this team the way only a real Canuck can.

As an athlete you are always on the quest of a goal, always looking for that challenge in your game or race. It’s ultimately what you miss the most after you have been out of it for a while. It is also the main reason you go back to it if you really have a passion for the sport. The first year after I retired I got to meet Trevor and, although we belong to different sports, I think we could both see how hard the transition would be. We both went from the feeling of “finally, I can relax and have a good time,” to “I really like this sport and I want to give something back to it.” I really think you can see the difference between athletes who were in the sport for money as opposed to ones who competed because they loved it. I am convinced that Trevor will do a great job and that he will bring the Vancouver Canucks back to where they belong in the NHL hierarchy. I am now an official Canucks fan – even if I still have lots to learn about the game. Regardless, I hope I will be able to cheer them on next year in the playoffs.

Team BissellSwitching to cycling, we have had a great start to the season with the Bissell Development Team. With our win in San Dimas and our second place overall in Redlands, we showed that we are young but that we also mean business. The “boys” are continuing where their predecessors left off, which makes us one of the best Continental teams in North America, and one of the top development teams in the world. We have a young and strong team. I can’t wait to introduce them to our “Amgen Tour of California” prize winner, James Foster of Calgary, who I am sure will have the time of his life spending the day with me in the team car. I will make sure we share pictures of his experience with all of you.

I would like to congratulate my Granfondo Axel Merckx teammates in their performance in the Penticton Ramada Elevator Race a couple of weeks ago. We finished second and beaten by a stronger team, but we sure had a good time doing this great event. My first taste of blood in the lungs for the year was sure a reminder of how painful it is to compete. None of that for you, my Granfondo friends, because the only taste you will get after crossing the finish line on July 13th is the refreshing taste of a nice cold Tree Beer. Hope you all are having a great Easter or Passover.

Ride hard, smile often,
Axel
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Training: New Trends in Bicycle Fit


With cycling season now fully in full force, many cyclists will undoubtedly tinker with their bike fit to ensure optimal comfort and performance. To help, this month’s article comes courtesy of Vancouver’s Rob Wright, a cycling biomechanics expert at Catalyst Kinetics Group in Burnaby, B.C.
 

Do we still use a Plumb Bob?

Since working with some of the first systems of clipless pedals over 25 years ago, the "Plumb Bob" has been part of the Bicycle Fit Tool Kit. But how do we use it today? For as long as I can remember, we have questioned "Knee over pedal spindle". Tradition would have us place a rider on their bicycle while mounted on a stationary trainer. The cyclists' feet are positioned at "9 and 3 o'clock" horizontal to the ground, and then we would drop the bob from the protruding bone beneath the patella on the lower leg (tibial tuberosity) to the pedal. The fore and aft adjustment on the seat rails were used to move the saddle so that the "Bob" fell on the center axle of the pedal.

Bike Fit 

Over the years, many attempts have been made to qualify the benefits to this position. It is still used today by most new and experienced fitters. My thoughts have always promoted this theory for the experienced cyclist already riding this position with no issues, but newer riders not so much.

The protocols have changed for many new riders. Complaints of too much weight on the front end, numb hands, sore knees and lack of power are all common complaints. In most circumstances, they ride with a group of seasoned and experienced cyclists dialed into a cadence of 90 RPM or better, riding two or more times a week almost right out of the gates. If this is you, try moving your seat to the rear. Consider the same measuring method, but measure so that the bob is 10 to 20 mm behind the axle, or use the top of knee to drop the bob over the spindle. Really, we are reducing weight on the handlebar, tapping into a stronger muscle group and reducing stress on the knees.

Eventually a proper professional bicycle fit will be your best solution to bond your bicycle to your specific needs.

Rob Wright

Rob is Catalyst Kinetic Group’s cycling biomechanics expert, and has been fitting bikes since 1987. He has the highest professional designations in the field, including Retul Master's Certificate, Guru University, Bike Fit Advanced Red Level, Fit Kit Level 3, Trek Advanced Level 2, F.I.S.T. Certified, Serotta Personal, John Cobb, and Sylvester Fit School.
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Interested in Sponsoring the 2014 Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan?

Become a sponsor today. The benefits that come from your association with one of the premiere athletic and cultural events of the summer are obvious. Strong brand. Well organized. Great cause. With as many as 3,000 cyclists and countless friends and family members taking part, your name and brand will be front-and-centre throughout the weekend. For information on sponsorship opportunities, e-mail:
info@granfondoaxelmerckx.com


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Ride Hard, Smile Often