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Lonestar 70.3 Expo in Galveston, TX
images by Nick Salazar
Mar 31, 2012  hits 40,209

The ocean of bikes ready to race tomorrow. One thing that struck me is how many athletes are now riding relatively high-end bikes. This is a very serious field of age groupers.
The ocean of bikes ready to race tomorrow. One thing that struck me is how many athletes are now riding relatively high-end bikes. This is a very serious field of age groupers.

This year's Lonestar 70.3 is going to be a battle royale. And there's no denying the draw: Lance Armstrong is returning for his second race as a pro triathlete, off the heels of his impressive debut in Panama. The famous Texan will be joined tomorrow by a cadre of top names including Michael Raelert, Marino Vanhoenacker, Tim O'Donnell, and T.J. Tollakson . The women's side is nothing to scoff at either, with the likes of Leanda Cave, Amy Marsh, Caitlin Snow, and Heather Wurtele leading the charge. Here's our pre-race gallery from the expo, which will be followed up with more coverage of the event tomorrow, and some post-race stuff on Monday.

  • The Lonestar 70.3 expo was held outside Moody Gardens, an educational amusement park with three giant pyramids called Discovery, Aquarium, and Rainforest, respectively. Moody Gardens is a 'public, non-profit educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation and research.' Sounds awesome!
  • The expo setting couldn't have been prettier.
  • The ocean of bikes ready to race tomorrow. One thing that struck me is how many athletes are now riding relatively high-end bikes. This is a very serious field of age groupers.
  • One thing I noticed that's new for 2012 is Profile Design's updated versions of the Svet bar. It now comes in a flat and drop version, and now all versions are Di2-compatible.  I'm not very keen on Profile's clip-on extensions, but the Svet is a great bar.
  • This is the drop version of the Svet. Slap on a VukaClip or Hed Flip Lite and you have a very light, very capable aerobar system that doesn't cost more than about $350.
  • These type of recovery boots are showing up all over the place. I've never used them, but might have to give them a try to satisfy my curiosity.  Plus, even if they aren't that great, I could re-use them on Halloween as a Michelin Man costume.
  • Trek had a nice location overlooking the Rainforest pyramid. The Moody Gardens structures are beautiful.
  • Trek is wasting no opportunities to capitalize on 'The Lance Effect.'  They brought along a replica of his Panama bike, a Speed Concept 9.9 equipped with the new SRAM Red and a stealthy black paint job.
  • The matte-black paint and subtle graphics finish off the rig very nicely.
  • Lance rode this bike with an SRM, but that was replaced with a 2012 SRAM Red crank, complete with the beautiful new chainrings.
  • These are the Zipp R2C shifters, though branded here with the SRAM logo.  The SRAM version has a thin blade to offer a different kind of grip.
  • Lance's Panama replica bike was complete with Bontrager's prototype split-nose saddle called the Hilo.
  • The Hilo is certainly too narrow for my tastes, but may fit some riders well. It looks similar in width to the Cobb V-Flow Plus.
  • The new YAW front derailleur promises crisper front shifting, an integrated chain-catcher, and eliminates the need for trim.
  • The new rear derailleur accommodates up to 28-tooth cassettes even with its shorter cage, and still maintains a class-leading low weight of just 145g.
  • The disc has a custom graphic on it, but that's a Carbonsports Lightweight disc. The new version no longer has the telltale ridges that gave away the old disc, so it's a little tougher to sort it out.
  • Athletes will use part of this path on the run course, so nicely covered in rubber which will be nicer on the joints.
  • The swim start is right next to the Colonel, an 1800's-style paddlewheel boat that's part of Moody Gardens.
  • There weren't many pro bikes racked when I took the shots for this gallery.  This LOOK 596 belongs to Herve Faure, and in my opinion, represents pretty old tech.  I'd love to see LOOK introduce something new to the tri market, especially something with better cable management!
  • And here's one more 'old' rig - the Cervelo P4 of Stephane Poulat. Though the P5 is here, production hasn't ramped up yet and many Cervelo athletes are still on the P4.  Nevertheless, it's still a very slippery bike, and a very practical machine.  All it needs is an Omega brake! Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more tomorrow.

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Before we close the books on Galveston, here's one more feature on some of the unique setups we saw out there, including an update to TJ Tollakson's crazy front end.
Here's a very thorough gallery of all the gorgeous gear from the hottest early-season tri of the year. T.O.'s E-118, Lance's Speed Concept, it's all here.
What's this bike doing without any aerobar extensions? The answer will surprise and possibly amaze you.
As if the new Speed Concept wasn't cool enough on its own, Trek has developed additional parts that provide some really nice customization options.
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