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Fixed around the world

with Jo-fietser

IRONMAN on Hawaii? Seriously?

Can you please tell me, why someone would do an IRONMAN? Why would you run a marathon, after you already swam 3,8 km in the ocean and cycled 180km without using the slipstream of someone in front of you? I cannot tell you the answer, because I never did this. But my friend Moritz Bleymehl just started this adventure roughly 2 years ago. But first things first.

When I was a teenager I competed in a lot of road bike races. Therefore I travelled a lot through Germany. Also to the south-west where I’ve met Moritz. We were both an on a similar level and raced hard to win against the other. But like it is mostly in cycling, we also became friends aside the race. I just searched my hard drive and found some great old pictures of us racing. You’re more than welcome to laugh your ass off!

In 2004 he kicked my ass in a point race in Homburg. He won and I finished on place 3.

Two years later in Kirchheim-Bolanden he got away with a group of four riders. My teammate Alex Schmitt and me closed the gap, but none of us won. I ended up on place three, Moritz on place four and Alex on place six.

However, this story of us racing against each other ended roughly in the age of 19-20, when we both stopped competing in cycling races and focused on studying and working.

I hate to say this, but facebook connects people. I discovered that Moritz finished second in his age group at the Ironman Mallorca and trains hard to compete at the IRONMAN World Championship this October on Hawaii. So we met a few weeks ago in Frankfurt to go on a ride and talk about this crazy IRONMAN idea.

Moritz told me that the idea to do a triathlon was born during a night with beer and friends. Exactly how it should be started! Beside beeing a med student he started to train all the disciplines of a triathlon. Beeing a good cyclists isn’t enough to get through this long distance competition. Moritz joined a swimming club to learn the right technique. He said: „In the beginning they beat the crap out of me, but after a while I became faster and could keep up with them.“ With all this training he signed up for the IRONMAN Mallorca 2015 and out of nothing he finished second in his age group. Believe it or not, with this result he qualified for the world championship on Hawaii in 2016.

But just because you qualified for the world championship doesn’t mean that you’re a professional traithlet. Actually he is still a med student. So he decided to take a break with a holiday semester to train one year as best as he can for Hawaii. Without a manager he contacted a few companies and found five sponsors, who are willing to support him with their products and a bit of money to make it to Hawaii.

But how is a triathlon in comparission to what we both did in the past?

In a cycling race you need to follow your competitors or you need to loose them. You can attack, get in the slipstream, go to your limits for a while. Things which don’t work like this in a triathlon. Moritz told me that it’s a weird feeling. Never beeing at your limits. Always keep your power at a constant level, which lasts for more than 10 hours. In a cycling race you get to your maximum, heart rate over 200, taste the puke in your mouth. He said: „In the marathon I just get tired. I feel empty. I need to convince my body not to lay down and sleep. That’s the fight with myself.“

Right now I’m doing 100% the opposite thing. Fixed gear racing. Short races, maybe 30km in 45minutes. Full gas, sprinting after each corner, nearly all the time at your maximum level. To give Moritz a feeling of what I am doing, we swoped bikes for a bit. To be fair, my bike is a bit too small for him.

But speaking about the bike. Right now Moritz is riding a space shuttle. Of course this machine is carbon fibre and has electronic shifters. Having an extra tank for drinks at the handle bar is unbelievable for a cyclists like me. He is an amateur, but his bike is on a pro level. „That’s totally norml for people, who start at an Ironman. They all invest more money in their material than an amateur cyclists would do.“Well, in a cycling race you also might crash more often and damage your material, because you ride in groups.

Right now Moritz seams pretty happy to get this chance. Racing on top level. Competing at the IRONMAN world championship on Hawaii. But what’s next? Right now he is just an amateur, who paused his med studies for a year. After that he probably gets back to University to finish this other challenge of life.  Or is there a chance to become a pro triathlet?

Whatever will happen in the future. Moritz, I wish you all the best for the world championship! Stay focused, think about how awesome it is to be there and kick some asses!!!

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Jail sentence for fixed gear race organisers – Support Holy Crit

Instead of changing your profile pics on Facebook and do nothing, you can actually do something real this time. Please help!!!

In December 2014 our friends Eric Khoo and Zul Awab were arrested by the Sigaporean Traffic Police after hosting an illegal bicycle race named „Holy Crit“.

„Holy Crit“ was one of the first asian fixed gear criteriums ever to happen. Eric and Zul have done a lot for the asian cycling community, for example supporting Faz Adhili, or helping Chen Zhencai to be the first Singaporean in „red Hook Crit“. Erics Shop „Fixup Yourgear“ is an institution for young and old cyclists in Singapore. He and Zul frequently organize grouprides for people of all ages.

When I visited Singapore last year I cycled with both of them and a lot of other singaporean cyclists. They didn’t want to stop organising fixed gear races and therefore they moved Holy Crit to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. They invited me to start at the race and luckily I won it. I’m really happy that I had the chance to feel their spirit of cycling and to become part of it. Therefore I feel the need to help them in their current situation.

Now almost two years after they got arrested the law has spoken:
Eric and Zul have been sentenced to two weeks in Jail, a 7000$ Fine (p.P.) and a 12 month revoke of their drivers licenses. Besides that, both spent thousands of Dollars for lawyers and other legal support.

We (Team Fixedpott and RAD RACE from Germany) cannot imagine how it must feel to face a jailterm for a race. For us as europeans it´s unthinkable and ridiculous. We both know how hard it is to organize and host a bikerace, but we also cannot imagine to be fined for it by the law.

We hope to raise as much money as soon as possible. Around 25000$ are needed: This should pay the fines and also the lawyers of Eric and Zul. We sincerely hope that our global cycling community can show the singaporean Government, that cycling and engaging kids (and of course anyone else) to compete against each other in a sportive is a great thing and not a crime at all!

https://gogetfunding.com/help-raise-funds-for-holycrit-founders/

We really hope that someday Holy Crit will become legal and that your country, but also everybody else in this world acknowledges the fact, that all Eric and Zul did with holy Crit did was for a good reason! In any other country these guys would be getting a pat on the back for being pro-active & engaging kids in doing something useful, healthy & fun.We hope that someday we can all race together in Singapore (legally)

STOP RACISM – START RACEISM.
FIXEDPOTT & RAD RACE

Phuket Criterium 2016

This saturday I was racing again. Back in sunny Thailand – at Phuket Criterium. After two months in colder countries like Taiwan, Japan and Korea, the heat was a real problem for me during the day. With constantly drinking water and isotonic drinks I tried to not get dehydrated and fight my headache. The race started of with a few attacks and we formed a leading group of six riders. Nobody could break away from that group, so we ended up sprinting and I finished on position three. Here are some pictures and further down you can find some videos of the race.

Check the final sprint

or the full race

URBAN HUB produced a video about the race.

As well as the FSVN team

Chiang Rai Crit Aftermovie

Chiang Rai Criterium was a great event at the beginning of this year. Although I crashed and just finished on position 12, I’m looking forward to race again with the guys in Phuket. Seeing this aftermovie of Chiang Rai Chrit makes me even more psyched about racing again!

See you next saturday in Phuket!

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My interview with cykelnmagazine.com

In Italy cycling is really famous. Therefore I was really excited when the guys of cykelnmagazine.com asked me for an interview. They use some really cool pictures from a shooting with Y.C. Tang in Taipei. Check out this interview on cykelnmagazine.com
It’s about how I started cycling, fixed gear racing and travelling in Asia. Thanks a lot guys!

image

 

A mummy’s Cinelli

Also as a mummy you can continue riding your nice fixed gear frame. That’s what the owner of Giracha’s cycling cafe in Osaka thought.
No dropbar anymore – But with this kind of stem and handlebar it’s possible to mount a baby seat.
In Japan it is necessary to have breaks on your bike. Therefore it was no problem to change the fixed gear wheel to a freewheel.

The dead velodrome

I really like to visit abandoned places. But seeing how a nice wooden velodrome falls apart can make me cry.

In December 2015 I’ve been in Ipoh for the Silver State Criterium. One day after the race my friends cycled with me to the Rakyat Velodrome in Ipoh. The official entrance is locked, so we had to crawl below the track to get inside. When I got inside and looked at the track I couldn’t believe my eyes. It is impossible to ride in this velodrome. Huge holes in the wood. You could fall inside the holes and end up on the gras we crossed to crawl in the velodrome. Somebody made big piles out of the old wood. I walked on the velodrome, but the rotten wood makes even that pretty dangerous.

The guys told me that the velodrome is shut down since nearly three years. Since that time nobody really cares about a renovation or a new velodrome for Ipoh. It’s sad to read that there is not enough money to care about the first velodrome in Malaysia.

http://www.thestar.com.my/sport/cycling/2015/07/15/no-budget-to-fix-velodrome-rakyat-for-now/

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/sports/article/what-happened-to-rakyat-velodrome-in-ipoh

Unfortunately there is just one other open air velodrome in Kuala Lumpur. The good news. They are building a new indoor track in Nilai.

It’s fantastic to see that guys like Azizulhasni Awang achieve great results in international competition! But it would also be great to see that somebody cares about the velodrome so that the next generation can train and get stronger.

At the end of April will be a big bike festival in Ipoh with several events for road bikes, mountain bikes, BMX and fixed gear cyclists. It would be great to see that the malaysian cycling ommunity is growing and that somebody cares about the youngsters. So please join the Ipoh bike festival from 29/04/2016 – 01/05/2016

DT Swiss factory visit

Throwback Taiwan – This march I spent a few weeks in Taiwan to cycle across the country, but also to visit the Taipei bike show, start at the Taipei Drag Race and to see the factory of DT Swiss. On my first days in Taiwan I spend most of my time at the bike show. I’m very happy that DT Swiss invited me to that event and arranged an interview with cycling time Taiwan on the last day of the show. It really cool to meet a company from Switzerland on the other side oft he earth.

One week after the show I was invited to see the factory of DT Swiss in Taichung. Taiwan ist he Mekka for bikes. So many parts and frames are produced in this country and Taichung ist he centre of that industry.

A few hard facts in the beginning. DT Swiss was founded in 1994 in Biel, Switzerland. The company is the world market leader in producing spokes. It also produces hubs, rims, nipples and suspension forks. The company is not just producing in Switzerland and Taiwan, but also in the USA and Poland.

In Taichung I’ve met Robert Valentini again, who showed me all parts of the factory. DT Swiss started to produce in Taiwan in 2005 and since that time the company and the sales are growing massively. Due tot hat fact the facctory is becoming too small for all the needs of the company. Therefore the wheel assembly and the fork production are moved to different locations.

In the main factory, DT Swiss produces spokes with massive machines. With one of these wire drums you can produce roughly half a million spokes. After You might recognise that the wire is silver and not black. DT Swiss doesn’t just paint the spokes like others do, they use a secret technique to get them black.

It’s also really interesting to see the assembly line for hubs of a world leading company. DT Swiss produces hubs not just for DT Swiss wheels, but also for wheelsets of other companies. You might not recognise that in the first step, because the brandings are made individualy, depending on the customers whishes.

Therefore the product range of DT Swiss are a few thousand products. Although you might think they just produce spokes, hubs and suspension forks.

How did that happen? Pretty easy. DT Swiss invests more money in new inventions and product development than others do. The company is really proud of the product quality. Due to that they can provide the market with ist best inventions and products.

Thanks a lot to Robert Valentini, Alex Schmitt and David Weng who gave me the chance to see the inside of DT Swiss.

bikeporn on Lockedcog.com

So many things happend in Taiwan. I visited the Taipei bike show, had the chance to see the DT Swiss factory, won the Taipei Drag Race, had a nice interview with Iris of Fixed gear girl Taiwan and I also met Chris of lockedcog.com. Check out his blog with some beaautiful bikes.

lockedcog

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