December 2017

DuckStore at 7 day Euro Haute Routes

Havig supported focused cyclists at the Haute route for over 6 years, next August we will support British, Thai, American, and Canadians as they tackle either the Pyrenees or the Alps.  Some have even chosen both!  Among the clients we will support in 2018 is Team Rhino, Team Vince Bangkok, Cycling Addict Marco, some crazy fun Canadians and a some CTS athletes.

September, 18 2012

Dejeuner, DuckStore Style

Over the years, we’ve learned a trick or two about keeping our clients going strong over long days on the bike.

Le secret?  Duck Store’s picnic lunch stop.   Our formula is to set up a table and chairs outside (weather permitting) and lay out a feast carefully designed and prepared to keep legs spinning and appetites sated.    After all, you’re in a country defined by quality cuisine! 

It’s a method we highly recommend you adopt for full days on the bike at home too.  Here’s a few quick tips:

 

- Find your spot:  Seek out a deli, lunch place or even a quality supermarkets that offers a variety of pre-prepared, choose your own salads.

 

- Stop a bit.  Get off the bike for at least a half an hour.  Find a place where you can sit down and relax.  Outdoors and with a good view aids digestion and recovery!

 

- Make salads the base of your lunch.  Taboulé, Lentils, cooked vegetables, tuna, olives, potatoes are great, feta & spinach, quinoa are all great. 

 

- Choose fat free and easy to digest.  Go very light on acidic foods like Tomatoes.

 

- Supplement your salads with some fresh fruit, bread or crackers and cheese. 

 

Just because you’re a cyclist, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy your lunch!   

 

Read more about our picnic lunch method and menus.
 

December 1, 2018

Great Scott!

We’re super excited to announce the continuation of  a solid partnership with SCOTT.  We will ride Addict Team Issue bikes for next year as well as being equipped with many well engineered Scott accessories.  

We will be offering 2017 and 2018 Scott Addict bikes for clients who prefer not to bring their own bike.  Chief Duck will ride the Addict RC Disc 15.  Have you tried riding with disc brakes?

February 17, 2013

Planes, Bicycles and Pain Avoidance.

It’s an unfortunate fact these days that most airlines charge a hefty fee to fly your bike from the US to France.    Not to mention risking your own precious lightweight specialissima with airline baggage handlers.  


This article summarizes the latest international rates for different airlines.  Some airlines consider a bicycle part of your overall baggage and only apply a surcharge if you go over the maximum weight.    AirFrance and British Airways have more bicycle friendly policies than many of the US carriers.  But shop and compare - and don’t forget to factor the bicycle policy into your airfare price.


Or if you want, just avoid the whole hassle.  For 2013, we’re happy to provide our clients the option to leave your precious personal bike safe at home, save the transport fee and logistical energy, and let us hook you up with a sweet new Scott Foil or Scott CR1  demo bike to ride during your French adventure with us.  


We’re excited that our technical partnership with SCOTT gives our clients the opportunity to conquer France’s cols with their new top of the range carbon road frame, equipped with a Shimano Dura Ace or SRAM Red groupset and Syncros wheels.   You just bring your pedals, and your saddle if you wish, and your critical set-up measurements (saddle height, setback, saddle-handlebar distance)  and our technical staff will have you rolling on a bike you may want to replace your own with! 

October, 13 2012

Our favorite climb in France?

Just to the northeast of Mont Ventoux is a climb we think hands-down is one of the most beautiful in France.   Hard to say in country with so many beautiful climbs.   Perhaps it’s simpler to call it our favorite. 

It’s one you’ve likely never heard of, but once you climb it, it’s one you surely won’t forget.

The Col de Fontaube is surely neither the longest, nor the steepest climb you’ll do with us in France.   But it’s about as perfect as climbing can get on a bike.  At a touch under 5 km. long, with a 4% average grade, maxing out at 6.3%, it’s not a killer.

It’s the view that kills.  

We like the western approach from Eygaliers.  It’s a serpentine climb through hairpin after hairpin of typical Luberon terrain.   You can spin up this one seated and under control while you’re mesmerized by panoramic vistas of Mont Ventoux.    On the way down the other side, a detour right off the main road to the ancient stone artist’s village of Brantes is a don’t miss photo-op.    

In its Tour de France appearance in 2009, that same Fontaube approach provided a 4th category climb hors d’oeuvre, well before the big guns blazed on the showdown penultimate stage finish atop Mont Ventoux.  Le Fontaube also featured on the route of the L’Etape du Tour cyclosportif that year.

Perhaps with the Ventoux rumored to be in the 2013 Tour, it will make an appearance again.    We’ll keep you posted…

May 5, 2013

A few pre-registered places still available for L’Etape du Tour 2013!

Although ASO has closed official registration to L’Etape du Tour 2013, Duck Store Productions still has a few, precious, pre-booked registration slots for the greatest Cyclosportive in the world! 

There’s still time to join us in Annecy on the starting line for the L’Etape du Tour this July 7 - but only if you act fast!    

Claim one of these slots by booking one of our L"Etape du Tour trips:  France’s Sportive Double trip (June 28 – July 8), or the Etape du Tour + Ventoux trip  (July 4-12)  Contact us for more details.   

October, 28 2012

Experience the 2013 Tour de France with DuckStore

What would be your perfect Tour de France experience?   Joining the fan-festival roadside?  Feeling what it’s like to race the toughest stages yourself?   Overdosing on a heavy dose of French culture and passion?

Depending on which balance you prefer, DuckStore’s designed the perfect 2013 Tour Trip for you.  

Le Tour 2013  on the Cote d’Azur    June 29 – July 3.   5 days/ 4 nights
Le Tour, the Riviera, and le vélo.     This balanced trip packs it all into a sun-baked summer escape you won’t want to miss.   You’ll attend two stages, and ride the cols of the Alpes-Maritimes

L’Etape du Tour and Mont Ventoux    July 4-11, 2013  9 days/ 8 nights
The perfect trip for the competitor seeking a personal Tour de France challenge.  You’ll conquer two mythical Tour de France stages:  L’Etape du Tour Cyclosportive, and the climb up Mont Ventoux.   And spend every other day riding Alpine and Provençale routes made famous by the Tour de France. 

Le Tour 2013 Finale:  Le Ventoux, L’Alpe d’Huez , Annecy, Paris.     July 13 –22, 2013    10 days/ 9 nights
The ultimate Alpine pilgrimage for the Tour de France  superfan.   You’ll shadow the Tour, ride mythical Tour cols, and have a roadside seat for the big mountain stages sure to decide the historic 100th Tour culminating with fireworks in Paris.

Check out the Trips section for more details

December 5, 2012

L’Etape du Tour 2013: Registration is now open... and filling fast!

Registration for the 2012 L’Etape du Tour cyclosportive opened November 28.  Our D.I.A.  (DuckStore Intelligence Agency) operatives hear that event organizers Mondovelo received 5,000 registrations the first weekend!    The L’Etape is more popular than ever, and clearly next year’s event is filling up faster than ever before.

DuckStore reserved a handful of places for participants in our L’Etape du Tour – Ventoux trip on July 4-11.  We’ve got a few places left, but when they’re gone… they’re gone. 

If you’d like to join us and ride one of biggest, most prestigious cyclosportives in the world in 2013, contact us to register for this great Tour …and reserve your place in ‘L’Etape du Tour’ today.   

October, 18 2012

Tour 2013 coming to Annecy!

Last Wednesday, the A.S.O. announced the 2013 Tour de France route.

Our D.I.A. (DuckStore Intelligence Agency) operatives got this one right:   The Tour is indeed coming to Annecy in the final week.    And on July 7th, Annecy will host the ‘L’Etape du Tour’ cyclosportif - riding the Stage 20 route through Les Bauges with a summit finish on Annecy-Semnoz.

It's sure to be a July filled with super cycling passion around here.   We're excited to offer three different Tour de France themed trips duirng July 2013, with two featuring incredible riding around Annecy that we know like the back of our hand!

- Our L’ETAPE DU TOUR AND MONT VENTOUX trip will taking in L'Etape du Tour.

And our LE TOUR 2013 FINALE: LE VENTOUX, AND LES ALPES trip during the final week of the Tour will get you up close on the Ventoux stage, the double climb to Alpe d’Huez, the penultimate stage starting in Annecy.

The 100th Tour de France is sure to be one won’t be one you’ll want to miss! 

 

We’re excited about hosting some Tour de France adventures next July that will let us show you our home city, and experience the fantastic cycling around the region.   DuckStore has the inside track to access the Tour up-close.  And because we know this area like the back of our hand, you can count on great lodging, super rides and quiet spots that complement and provide the perfect antidote to ‘Tour madness'. 

Watch this space within the next few weeks for upcoming news on our 2013 Tour program.   . 

September, 26 2012

Keeping it clean

At Duck Store we believe in keeping our peloton clean.  Literally.   That's why on a Duck Store trip, every bike gets pro-care treatment.    That means a daily cleaning, and chain lube by our tech support team.

We use (and highly recommend) the Belgian Morgan Blue line of bike care products.  

Over the years we’ve tested several brands, and like the way their products clean chains effectively & quickly.   And we find their spray wash and polishes quickly get your bike into that ‘pro tour’ clean state that will make you want to jump back on and attack the next morning.  Maximum clean, minimal time and hassle.  

We can see why Morgan Blue bike care products are the choice of fifteen professional cycling teams.  They're currently widely available in Europe, but not distributed in the North America... yet.     

August, 30 2012

Countdown to the Pyrenees traverse: 5 Tips for a 'quacking' ride

5 tips for a ‘quackin’ Pyrenees traverse:

 

1. Don’t forget the Vest!   Although it’s summer, the weather in the Pyrenees can turn faster than Wiggo’s cranks.   And it’s easy to catch a cold on the descents that can turn this adventure into a painful calvary.  Bring a good lightweight windproof vest, and keep it in your pocket on all the rides.  Don’t forget to pack arm and leg warmers, shoe covers, long gloves and a full rain jacket.    Bring an extra pair of cleats, shoe buckles…or even a 2nd pair of backup shoes.   In short, be prepared.

 

2. Leave the carbon clinchers home:   We like light wheels, but sturdy wheels.  Recently there’s been a lot in the news about carbon clinchers blowing up when heating up under braking on high speed mountain descents – to the point where some Gran Fondos are warning riders not to use their clinchers (read this link). 
On this trip, we’ll hit very high speed on some very technical descents that go on and on.   We want everyone to be safe, and recommend if you use clinchers, use wheels with a metal braking surface.   If you really want superlight carbon rims go with tubulars or models proven by the pros in mountain stages.

 

3. Rest lots, but don’t overeat:   In the final week, taper off your mileage so you arrive in France well rested, but don’t overeat!   Consider cutting your food intake down, or grazing with more, smaller meals during the day.    Remember, scaling the Pyrenees in good form is mostly about how much you weigh.    Eat for quality, not quantity!

 

4. Keep jet lag at bay:   Nothing can mess up this raid like lingering jet lag.  Check out the links here, here and here for some tips for making sure you arrive ready to climb

 

5. Be a slave to the screen:   Whether you use a power meter or a heart rate monitor, bring it.  (and spare batteries!)  And obey it with the same religious fervor of Gino Bartali praying in Lourdes!   Know the target climbing rate you can comfortably sustain and keep it there. On day one, don’t let the excitement of the legendary venue tempt you into overreaching.   Remember you’ll probably be climbing more passes, more days in row than the Tour does.   As Gino would have said, “Sotto controllo…piano piano!”

May, 20 2012

Trip Report: Spring Traverse 2012

A  group of five die hard American and British adventurers were recently led across the ‘pre-alps’ by a bi-lingual American ex-pat, and a bi-lingual ex French cyclocross champion, on a ‘quest for the best.’

 

I say that because the best part of this special trek is the fact that it felt as if we had most of Provence and the Alpes Maritimes virtually to ourselves.   One of the benefits of choosing spring is the opportunity to ride across gorgeous landscapes and climbs in the Alpilles, the Luberon and the Gorges de Verdon on blissfully empty roads.   And riding here in cool spring weather let us climb comfortably without the oppressive heat this region regularly gets during summer.  

 

The photo opportunities of Provence villages and wild nature unspoiled by summer tourist hoards are a real plus of this tour.   Jim Klages took the great shots of this trip below. Check out more here.


An example of one of the many hidden gems in this trip is the village of Les Baux de Provence.  Set in the Alpilles, this ancient village was literally carved out of the side of a rocky hilltop fortress ruin.  First inhabited back in 6000 BC, it’s consistently ranked as one of the most picturesque villages in France.   The climb to reach it is deceptively tougher than it looks, but as the Michelin guide says, it’s ‘worth a special journey.’

 

Every day between the k’s, the climbs, and the sights, we all worked up a big appetite.  And as always in this part of the Hexagon, the local cuisine was phenomenal.  The unanimous favorite was the homemade ravioles (different from ravioli) we devoured in the town of Tourrettees – a ‘perched village’ in the Var, where the quality of the view was surpassed by the quality of the cuisine!    And of course at the arrivée every day, our équipe celebrated by quenching our thirst with the mandatory ‘biere de recuperation’.  Our British guests led the general classification in that department. 

 

Our grand finale was assulting the two big climbs around Nice:  The Col d’Eze, and the Col de la Madone.    On these two, the intensity naturally went up a notch, everyone doing their best Wiggo or Lance imitation, pending nation of origin.  

 

May, 03 2012

Are you drinking too much?

It’s been a suspicion nurtured while observing some of our clients fret over constant water supply, and force down bottle after bottle that the recent mania for fluid intake on the bike sometimes gets taken to excess.  


We’ve all read many articles in recent years, recommending that cyclists put away plenty of fluid - some even recommending replacing every bit of fluid loss from sweating.   Notable experts like Dr. Allan Lim’s well publicized work (and results) with Floyd Landis, Lance Armstong and the Garmin team have all influenced the ‘hydration is everything’ philosophy, supported by empirical data showing how fluid maintenance can optimize power output.


It’s a big contrast from decades of cycling traditional practices.  Cycling lore and mythology is filled with stories of champions who’d go through hot stages on one or two water bottles.  Raymond Poulidor was one famous ‘camel’ who’d only use one or two bottles on a long stage.  While we’re not recommending you adopt such Spartan fluid intake restrictions (it is interesting to speculate if PouPou drank more fluids on the Puy de Dome stage in 1964, he’d have finally defeated Anquetil to win the Tour) -  one has to wonder how decades of cyclists ever made it over the Alps in good shape... on a fraction of the water?


Question is:  How much is the right amount?    


Some new studies may now be showing that your thirst may be the best guide to proper hydration after all.    And that there are even some dangers in over-hydration… namely f you drink more than your fluid body’s telling you, you risk a dangerous drop in blood sodium concentration called hyponatremia.   Check out these two interesting articles here and here, and draw your own conclusions.

Like many things in life, the best approach to hydration may be common sense moderation.  

April, 06 2012

Zipp Wheel Test Center

 

Over the years we have noticed how our customers enjoy tetsing new equipment.  This past summer we had different types of Zipp wheels on our bikes and different people tried them out.  For 2012 we are an official Zipp Test Center offering riders the opportunity to test the 303 with tubulars or tires as well as the 202 with tubulars.  This is a fantastic to try firsthand how wonderful tubulars feel and how much super light wheels make climbing easier, et oui.  Check out http://www.zipp.com for more info on these superb wheels.

Imagine in one day's rid etesting 4 different wheel sets. 

May 21-27

Annecy - Ventoux

We live in Annecy.  Mont Ventoux is a cycling mecca.  Why not join the two while riding through beautiful pre-alps mountain ranges?  4 days riding to the base of the Ventoux, a 5th day to conquer the Giant of Provence, coast down the other side to teh Gorges de la Nesque.  If you've never ridden either of these you are really missing something.  Check this new trip out.  

May, 27 2012

Luchon gets ready to celebrate the Tour… again!

Surrounded by a crown of 13 peaks over 2000 meters, the Pyrenees spa town of Bagnères-de-Luchon is not just the ‘queen’ of the Pyrenees – it’s also queen of Tour de France stage towns.     

 

On 51 occasions, a Tour stage has either started, or finished in Luchon.  And six more times it’s hosted a summit finish at Superbagnères ski station on the edge of town.   If the sidewalks here could talk, they’d recall of Tour stars like Christophe, Bartali, Poulidor or Ocana who’d stopped here, giving tired bodies rest and sustenance before climbing out for more the next day.

 

Luchon is a summer outdoor tourism mecca – a destination for thermal baths, hiking, paragliding, rafting, mountain biking and of course…road cycling.  The  Col de Peyresourde, Port de Balès, Col de Menté, Col du Portillon and the Col de Portet d'Aspet are all nearby.   And despite having only 2,600 inhabitants, it’s full of great sidewalk cafes’, bars and restaurants….even a Casino!  An international sporting playground where you’re as likely to meet a Canadian, Russian or Belgian cyclosportif as a French or Spanish one. 

 

Just last week, Luchon saw Cadel Evans come through on his reconnaissance of the two Pyrenees stages that, just four days from the Paris, are very likely to determine who wins the 2012 Tour De France.   The town is expecting to host the Schleck brothers on a similar mission in the coming days.

 

For two magical days this July, Luchon will once again be transformed into the epicenter of the cycling world.  And Duck Store will be right there…immersed in the center of it all.   Our group is booked in Luchon for several nights during our 2012 L’Etape du Tour Pyrénées Adventure, giving us a front row seat as the Tour takes over Luchon.   No traffic, no car transfers.  Just a party that will be like Pamplona’s San Fermin festival… for cyclists!  

 

Discover more about Luchon here


Don’t miss it.  We still have a few places open in this trip.

June, 15 2012

French Alps Traverse

A DuckStore Productions classic.  From our home base to the capital of the Cote d'Azur; Nice.  We've been improving this route every year and no rider is ever disappointed.  The terrain is varied, sublime, and in many cases bretahtaking.  Greta climbs.  Fun descents and great country inns for sleeping, eating and a bit of a drink.  Come be a part of a "classic".

May 6 & 7 2012

Milan San Remo Gran Fondo WARM-UP