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Feedback Sports Field Tests the Omnium

If you’re reading this blog right now, chances are you love bikes just like we do.  You might even race (just like we do).  In fact, some of us here race quite fast; you may have heard our western sales manager’s name (Tim Allen) being called out at Cx races. But what you might not know is that Feedback Sports also sponsors a local racing team with around 40 people.

van sky end of race

Within our team, we have quite a variety. The ages range from 12-65, and the racing style of choice is just as broad.  We have BMX, XC Mtb, DH, Enduro, Cx and even a few who race via their daily commute.  There are many benefits to having a team: one of the more obvious is that we always have great people to ride and race with. But from a company stand point, this gives us the opportunity for plenty of field testing.  We’ve appreciated our team’s instant input on our storage items, our wash and work stands and now…the Omnium trainer.

Since we’re about half-way through the Cx season, we thought we’d focus on how the Omnium has worked it’s way into our team’s season so far with two of our fastest members.

Let’s start with our aforementioned western sales manager, Tim Allen.  Tim races at a national level in both single-speed and the men’s open/elite.  Tim has been with Feedback Sports for 4 years but racing for 5. And it’s possible that with each year, he’s gotten faster. Here’s a little peek inside Tim’s world from his most recent personal blog:

“I’m trying to find a balance. A life balance that inspires ikigai – the Japanese concept meaning, “a reason for being”. Ikigai is thought of as “a reason to get up in the morning”. It’s easy to get caught up in day to day stress, but enjoying life and living it to the fullest is essential to finding ikigai. Raising a family, working 8-5, and racing cyclocross creates quite the hectic schedule. It’s challenging and rewarding at the same time.”

Tim and Everett

He must be doing a pretty good job at this since within the last few weeks, he won the local 3 day “Cx of the North” Omnium race and last weekend placed 9th at the US Open of CX in Boulder, finally earning a UCI point. Tim credits his family, his job, his sponsors, and his racing community as strong contributors to his success.  And…coincidentally, a product he’s gotten to know quite well from work: the Omnium.

“I thought it was ironic that warming up on the new Omnium Trainer was vital to my success in winning the Omnium at Cross of the North. I’ve never really been much of a “trainer/roller” guy much less a “warm up/cool down” guy. When you have a trainer as smooth and easy as the Omnium, there is no excuse not to! It folds up smaller than my duffle bag and weighs less than 14lbs. It utilizes a rear wheel roller platform that easily adjusts to any wheel base and will accommodate essentially any fork mount on the market! With our universal fork mount and the free floating roller platform, you don’t need to have any balance – so that gives me some time to keep trying to find mine!

The internal progressive resistance is a magnetic system that is built into the rollers and is unlike anything else on the market. As you increase wattage, the resistance gets harder – it’s about as close to riding the road without the actual road. Needless to say, I was thoroughly warm for all 3 race starts. Cooling down afterwards, with a cold one and my son was the best way to cap off the weekend! I’m pretty sure I’ve found my ikigai…”
Tim racing in grass Tim and Danny S

Now let’s move onto a female power-house on the Feedback Sports team: Caitlyn Vestal. Caitlyn races in the women’s open/elite category and has had a smashing season thus far. When asked about her success, it seems like she is channeling ikigai as well.

caitlyn racing

“I have surprised myself (a little, because I work really freaking hard!) with my results this year. I knew that I felt strong but getting podium at UCI races is the break I have been waiting for. I don’t have a coach- I have been racing since I was 13 and it seems I finally have the years, miles and experience in my legs to get the results I know I am capable of. I work full time with a long commute, so being able to race and work and get these results has been really gratifying.”

Caitlyn is the very definition of someone you would want representing your company out on the bike.  Sure, she’s very, very fast.  But she’s also positive, helpful, kind and enigmatic.  Recently we got the chance to send Caitlyn to race Charm City Cx with the Omnium.

“Racing in Baltimore for Charm City cross was awesome because I grew up in Pennsylvania. I ran into tons of friends from the past when I was racing full time in the mid Atlantic region and abroad. I felt great but had to dig deep because I got in at 2 AM Friday night and then had to race all out Saturday and Sunday. I had a 4th row call up so it took a ton of energy to power up to the front of the group and then keep pushing so I didn’t lose any spots. Very pleased with my results and so happy to hear people cheering for me out there.”

How does Caitlyn like the Omnium? It’s safe to say that if she is racing, you’ll see her warming up and cooling down on the Omnium, just like she did when she got 4th place both days at the recent US Open of CX in Boulder.

caitlyn warming up caitlyn flowers

“The Omnium is a fantastic trainer. So much more easy than having to take your rear wheel off. Feels more stable. The front of my bike is upright without the extra typical front wheel holder. Not to mention that it’s so easy to transport! Everyone who sees it loves it.”

What’s next for Ms. Vestal? Between now and Nationals, (in addition to the local CO races) Caitlyn will be traveling to CX LA (November 20-22nd). 

“My main goal has just been to get more UCI points, since I started the season with just 2. Recent UCI results will help me have a good start spot in nationals, which I’d like to place top 10 in. I have been setting goals as I go and when a race goes well I ask myself “Okay, what’s next?” I have had great support from the CX community, our team and my husband and friends/family.”

Watch out for both Caitlyn and Tim (and the rest of our small, but mighty Feedback Sports team) at the races, on the trails and the road.  And feel free to ask any one of of us (sporting the red arrow) about any of our products and we’ll sing like birds.

Tim Omnium podium

*The Omnium will be available in January 2016 (perhaps just in time for CX Nationals).  Ask your local bike shop to pre-order you one today!

 

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Richmond Worlds 2015

Libby Hill Cobbles may hve casued some bike repairs, good thing the Sprint Stand fro Feedback was up for the job

*Want to know what Richmond Worlds was like?  Find out what Feedback Sports founder/owner, Doug Hudson thought of it. Plus, what he thought of those cobbles on Libby Hill.

As soon as I heard about the 2015 Road World Championships I knew I’d be going.  It was the first Road Worlds in the USA in 29 years and it just so happened to be in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia.  My parents and sister still live in Richmond, so there was that.  Plus several national teams (including the Swiss and Belgian) would be using Feedback Sports gear. It was the perfect weekend trip combining family, the sport I love and our company.

I arrived on Friday afternoon and stopped by the Swiss team hotel.  Jonathan Fazan (IAM Cycling’s technical director) and crew were busy prepping bikes for the weekend.  The piles of super high-end equipment were impressive.  Our Sprint stands were in use and all was well on the mechanic-front.

Next, I decided to do the “Conquer the Cobbles” ride in which the course was open from 7-9pm.  It was drizzling and my only option was my sister’s 54cm bike (I ride a 58cm), but I decided to go for it.  It turned out to be such a great experience.  I lined up with the first group to ride three laps of the course. The pace was as fast as you wanted to go and I teamed up with some strong riders.  The descents were a bit sketchy due to the rain, but nobody around me went down. The brick surface of Monument Avenue was bumpy enough to notice, but much smoother than the later cobble sections.

Libby Hill Cobbles
The infamous “Libby Hill Cobbles”.

 

Speaking of those sections…

The first time up Libby Hill on the 23rd St cobbles was much harder and rougher than I expected.  My MTB skills came into play as the group charged up the steep climbs.  The jarring was enough to rotate my headlight straight down within five seconds.  The 23rd street section had a 17% grade and was where Peter Sagan made his (now famous) attack on Sunday.  The final climb up Governor’s Hill was a tough lead into the long straight finish stretch.  After 3 laps and 30 miles, I was beat.  Strava said 430 feet of elevation gain per lap, but it felt like more. Riding the course gave me some perspective into what competitors were going through.  My 3 laps were meager compared to the other races…the men’s elite did 16 laps!

Saturday we watched the elite women’s race from the UCI VIP lounge area close to the finish line.  IAM Cycling had graciously provided my sister and I a pass to this prime viewing area.  It was cool to be watching the race a few feet from Bryan Cookson, the UCI president especially as a British woman won the Elite race.  I know he was excited about the win for his home country.

On Sunday, I coaxed my parents to attempt to view the race at Libby Hill.  We found a surprisingly good parking spot and walked through Richmond’s oldest neighborhood of Church Hill.  My grandmother lived in this area in the early 1900’s and much earlier than that (1775) it was the site of Patrick Henry’s famous “Give me liberty, or give me death” speech.  It was exhilarating to see the peloton mashing up the Libby Hill cobbles in such a historic area.  As Dave Towle pumped up the crowd with his announcements, we watched 4 laps, including one through the chaotic feed zone at the top of Libby.

My sister and I then headed back to the UCI lounge to watch the rest of the race.  The finish could not have been more exciting with Peter Sagan taking the win after his attack on the 23rd Street hill cobbles.  The crowd was electrified.  And of course this was amazing for Feedback Sports too, since we are a sponsor of Peter Sagan’s World Tour team Tinkoff/Saxo.

alex and doug
Golden, CO favorite: Alex Howes after his 12th place finish–highest ranked American.

From the city’s welcoming nature to the races and athletes themselves, Richmond delivered an exceptional event all around. Not to mention I got to enjoy my Mom’s home cooking, too–which is also exceptional.