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Pros v. Amos Tri-Style: Featuring Gwen Jorgensen Alicia Kaye and Katie Macarelli

                            Photo: Pro Velo Passion

 

A little back-history of Pro’s vs Amo’s…

These events go back to the summer of 2014 when we had the 1st “Pro’s vs “Amos” contest (“amos” is just a rhyming abbreviation for “amateurs”). There was a chocolate chip cookie bake-off followed by a dodge ball tournament. There was laughter and tears. *It was mostly the laughing and the cookies that inspired us to keep this “challenge” going.

Since then we’ve invited many strong, fun women to join in on the shenanigans. While the cast of women is ever changing (life happens), the spirit of this event never will. This will always be a somewhat silly celebration of the pure joy we all have for our sport.

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Pros & Amos: Tri-Style

In a digital-cyber-y version of 303’s famous Pros v. Amos challenges, we pit famous local “Amo” Katie Macarelli opposite a couple “Pro” athletes you may have heard of… Olympic World Champion Gwen Jorgensen & Professional Triathlete Alicia Kaye! And we’re talking about how Pros live their athletic lives and learn their lessons, compared to Amos… What it’s like as a female role model, mistakes they’ve made, and how they’ve overcome obstacles along the path to stardom… Read on to find out who’s a brainiac with multiple degrees… who hurdles barbed wire fences with ease… and who’s favorite prize ever was 20 pounds of steak.

Here’s some background:

GWEN JORGENSEN
Gwen Jorgensen is a professional triathlete from St Paul, MN. Gwen is a 2x Olympian, 2x World Champion (2014, 2015), and 17x ITU World Triathlon Series race winner. She also likes to read, try new foods, and hang out with friends and family.

Career Highlights:

  • 2016 Olympic Champion
  • 2015 World Champion
  • 2014 World Champion
  • 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Member
  • 2013 USA Triathlon’s Triathlete of the Year
  • 2014 USA Triathlon’s Triathlete of the Year
  • 2015 USA Elite National Champion
  • 2014 USA Elite National Champion
  • 2013 USAT Elite National Champion (Sprint and Olympic Distance)
  • First USA Woman to win a World Triathlon Series race
  • 15-time ITU World Triathlon Series Winner
  • 2010 USAT Rookie of the Year
  • 2010 USAT Elite Duathlete of the Year

ALICIA KAYE
Alicia grew up in Canada and began participating in triathlon when she was 11 years old; she became a professional triathlete at the age of 14. Alicia spent her teen years racing triathlon while juggling her academic studies. While completing her undergraduate degree in Sport Psychology she met fellow triathlete and now husband, Jarrod Shoemaker. Since meeting Jarrod she has began racing for the United States and also completed her masters degree in Athletic Counseling. Some of Alicia’s proudest moments include winning Canadian Junior National Championships in 2001, and winning the St. Anthony’s Triathlon in 2013. In her spare time Alicia works as a mental trainer and runs a skincare company with her husband Jarrod, called Endurance Shield.

Photo: Mountain Moon Photography

And our “Amo,” KATIE MACARELLI
Katie is a Colorado native who grew up on a dairy farm on the Eastern Plains. She got her start in the Colorado cycling scene competing in triathlons for about five years until she realized that running is the worst. She’s a mom of two teenage girls, a year-round bike commuter who hates driving but loves cyclocross. She is currently the marketing manager for Feedback Sports.

Here we go!
1. Have you ever googled yourself? Any oft-repeated MISconceptions out there that you’d like to clear up? Any rumor or tall tale that just keeps popping up on Wikipedia? Here’s your chance to set the record straight. And if not, give us your best pretend fake fact.

GJ:  I’ve googled my husband, Patrick Lemieux, but don’t google myself. I think one thing people may assume is that I come from a running background, however I actually come from a swimming background and didn’t start running until I was a junior in college.

AK: Yes, I’ve googled myself. It almost always just to find an image or to find articles written about a recent race. Maybe once every few years I’ll look to see if anyone is saying something mean or false, but I’ve never found anything truly negative.

KM: ​I work in the digital marketing realm, so of COURSE I have. The only misconception I’ve ever found was an article that listed me as living in Portland. I’ve never actually been to Portland, but it sounds lovely. *I generally disregard everything past page 5 on google, because it’s like reading the comments on Pinkbike. It will just make you mad and/or confused.

2. How has your rise to fame affected your performances? Has there ever been a time when the spotlight really helped you? Or worked against you?

GJ: I am an introvert, so it took some time to get used to the media attention and fans walking up to me. I now enjoy being able to share my experiences, but still need my alone time to recharge.
In 2012, after I qualified for the Olympics I had a bunch of media engagements lined up for the week of a WTS race in San Diego. I did an all day photo shoot along with other media the week leading into the race and I believe this contributed to my poor performance. I think I almost finished dead last.

                Photo: Finisher Pix

AK: I had my breakout year in 2013 winning the Lifetime Series and Toyota Triple Crown. I thought it would be this ultra grand moment where everything would change. But life went on as normal, the money and/ or result didn’t change any of my relationships- we were just able to make a big fat mortgage payment instead;) What was interesting was in 2014 I really struggled to find purpose and meaning after achieving all my goals in 2013, trying to replicate them again in 2014 was an entirely different experience.

KM: I’m not famous, but I do find it hard to get to the start line to any race because I often stop to hug, heckle and/or say hello to friends. As it turns out, missing the start of a race directly impacts your performance.

Click here to read the rest of the article.  A huge thanks to Gwen Jorgensen and Alicia Kaye for playing along with us and of course to Dana Willett of 303triathlon.com for putting this together!

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Red Hook Crit – Team Specialized/Rocket Espresso

As die-hard cycling fans, it should come as no surprise to read that we have long-pined over attending the Red Hook Crit. The lights, the city, the fans, the spectacular crash footage, etc. But rather than make the l-o-o-o-n-g drive from Colorado to Brooklyn, (CA to NY if you count that we just got back from Sea Otter) we’ve opted to partner with Team Specialized/Rocket Espresso to represent our products instead.

This is great for the following list of reasons:

  • As previously mentioned, NY is far, far, far away from CO.  Our van is a go-getter, but that’s asking a lot.
  • This team is fast.
  • Think “fast” and then multiply it by 1,000 (as in “Eamon-Lucas-just-won-the-Pro-Men’s-Crit-at-Sea-Otter” type of fast).
  • The team will have coffee and beer for you to drink in their palatial tent while they intentionally pummel their bodies at the Red Hook Crit.
  • Having this fast team warm-up and cool-down on our Omnium portable trainers/rollers will be a touch more impressive than say…us warming-up under our tent and likely crashing during the first lap.

This isn’t insinuating that we’re slow with poor bike-handling skills or that our tent isn’t pretty, but you get the idea.

  • Most of us are Cyclo-cross and MTB racers. Crits are scary to us. We don’t know what to do with our hands.
  • Okay, now I feel badly for our tent. I didn’t mean it.  Our tent looks very nice and we offer plenty of fine Colorado craft beer options.
  • Seriously, our beer is the best.

But, I digress. 
If you happen to be going to the race, find the Specialized-Rocket Espresso tent and fuel up on espresso and/or beer.  And take in the beauty of the bikes, the racers, the venue and the crowd that’s made the Red Hook Crit what it is today. And if you can’t make it, Specialized will be hosting a livestream of the finals on Specialized.com.?

Roster: 

  • Aldo Ino Ilisec (Slovenia) – Team Captain, 2nd in the overall last year.
  • Eamon Lucas (USA) – Under 25 USA Crit champ in 2017, winner of stage 5 of 2016 Tour of Fuzhou.
  • Stefan Schafer (Germany) – 6day racer, winner of RHC Milano 2016
  • Alec Briggs (UK) – 6day racer and long time favorite in the RHC series.
  • Akinori Yamamura (Japan) – Pro cyclist.

Race Series: 

  • Brooklyn No.10 – Apr 29th
  • London No.3 – July 22nd
  • Barcelona No.5 – Sept 2
  • Milano No.8 – Oct 14th
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Proven at Paris-Nice / Stage 5

The Omnium is also being used right now at Paris-Nice by team Lotto Soudal…and it appears to be working.


Official Press Release from Lotto Soudal:
André Greipel sprinted to victory on the fifth stage of Paris-Nice! A big triumph for Lotto Fix ALL! The German champion beat Arnaud Démare and Dylan Groenwegen in the sprint.

With a distance of 199.5 kilometres the fifth stage, from Quincié-en-Beaujolais to Bourg-de-Péage, was the longest one of this edition. It was the last chance for the sprinters this week and they didn’t want to let that slip. Not long after the start, six riders got away from the bunch. They had a maximal lead of more than five minutes. Thomas De Gendt was riding at the head of the bunch for many kilometres to control the gap. Twenty kilometres from the end, the peloton split in two because of a crash. André Greipel and Tony Gallopin were riding in the second and biggest part, together with GC leader Julian Alaphilippe. Soon, the peloton got back together. With 12.5 kilometres to go, the last four escapees were reeled in. In the last kilometres the roundabouts on the course created chaos during the sprint preparation. André Greipel got through these passages without any problems and was riding in an excellent position to start the sprint. His victory was very impressive, beating Démare and Groenewegen with more than a bike length.”

André Greipel: “It was the big goal to win a stage here at Paris-Nice against some of the best sprinters in the world. Arnaud Démare is riding very impressive at the moment. I’m glad I could beat him. Of course I was very disappointed on Tuesday when I only got seventh. I made a mistake and I was really angry at myself. We wanted to do better today and so we did. The last seven kilometres we had to fight against a strong headwind, so it was not easy to stay in front. Luckily, with the support from the team, I managed to get in a really good position for the sprint. The finish was slightly uphill and suited me well. I am very happy with this victory. The next days I’ll do my best to support Tony Gallopin where I can. Saturday will be a fight man against man and he is really good, I think he can win this Paris-Nice.”

 

 

 

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The Omnium at the Spring Classics

Feedback Sports is thrilled to be supporting several Pro World Tour Road teams for 2017; Lotto Soudal and Trek-Segafredo.  Picture bike geeks like us, at the Spring Classics, watching the mechanics prep the racers with our products.  It’s quite a nerdy sight to behold.  Right this minute, in fact, Feedback Sports is excitedly shadowing Team Lotto Soudal at the 52nd edition of Tirreno-Adriatico.  This is the first season that the Omnium portable trainers are officially in use with our Pro World Tour Road teams. It’s as if our child graduated as valedictorian and is off to the Ivy Leagues (only with bikes…or holding up bikes and racers and…you get the picture).

Below is the press release from our friends at Lotto Soudal showcasing the race along with some pictures from day one.  Enjoy!

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The 52nd edition of Tirreno-Adriatico takes place from 8 March 2017 till 14 March 2017. In seven stages, the riders will cruise through the Italian landscape. This year, the punchers and the climbers will get a few opportunities to win a stage, but also the time trialists are getting a chance of a stage win.

Just like last year, the Tirreno starts with a team time trial of 23 kilometres in Lido di Camaiore. The second stage is the longest of this edition with 228 kilometres. The largest part is flat but there is a steep climb at the end. Day three is an opportunity for the sprinters. Because of the slight uphill road it’s not guaranteed there’s going to be a bunch sprint, a puncher can win too.

The fourth stage will be very important for the GC. There’s a monstrous climb at the end of the stage on an altitude of 1.675 metres. The fifth stage seems ideal for the punchers but you can’t write the climbers off for the win. The sprinters will get their chance the day after. This Italian race ends with an individual time trial of ten kilometres on a flat course.

Lotto Soudal will participate with Tim Wellens, Maxime Monfort and Tiesj Benoot among others. The competition for the overall victory will come from riders such as Michal Kwiatkowski, Nairo Quintana, Tejay van Garderen, Thibaut Pinot and Bauke Mollema. The atypical winner of last year, Greg Van Avermaet also participates.

Bart Leysen, sports director Lotto Soudal: “We have a team to ride a great Tirreno-Adriatico. We got for example Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens who are in great shape. There are some possibilities to achieve a nice result. We have two opportunities with Tiesj and Tim and two  with Jens Debusschere and Jürgen Roelandts. The big goal of this Tirreno is to conquer a stage win. We are going into the Tirreno to give everything we’ve got. We are not going to hide somewhere in the peloton. The Lotto Soudal team cannot do that every stage but we are picking up where we left off in the Strade Bianche.”

“The stages are similar to previous editions, so we know as a team what to expect. Just like last year we start with a team time trial. I belief we have a team to aim for the top five, that would be amazing. Day two is a course where Tim Wellens and Tiesj Benoot can exploit their abilities. There are hills and climbs on the route and the finish is uphill. It’s not very steep so we can definitely battle for the victory this day.”

“Day three is a sprint stage so we are going to take our chances with Jens and Jürgen. Day four is the toughest stage with a long steep climb. There is no plan yet for this stage. We are going to wait and see how, for example Tim Wellens, stands in the GC to defend his chances. During the fifth stage there is another chance for Tim and Tiesj. There is another steep uphill climb at the finish where they can exploit their abilities. Day six is also a sprint stage, thus a chance for Jens and Jürgen. We end the Tirreno-Adriatico with an individual time trial on a flat course.”

“Except for the big mountain stage we have more than enough chances to go for a stage win. The team is so strong that we can divide the pressure without one person getting all the pressure on his shoulders. That puts the riders at ease.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Tiesj Benoot, Bart De Clercq, Jens Debusschere, Nikolas Maes, Tomasz Marczynski, Maxime Monfort, Jürgen Roelandts and Tim Wellens.

Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Bart Leysen.

Stages

Stage 1 Wednesday 8 March : Lido Di Camaiore – Lido Di Camaiore (TTT) (22.7 km)
Stage 2 Thursday 9 March: Camaiore – Pomarance (228 km)
Stage 3 Friday 10 March: Monterotondo Marittimo – Montalto Di Castro (204 km)
Stage 4 Saturday 11 March: Montalto Di Castro – Terminillo (187 km)
Stage 5 Sunday 12 March: Rieti – Fermo (209 km)
Stage 6 Monday 13 March: Ascoli Piceno – Civitanova Marche (168 km)
Stage 7 Tuesday 14 March San Benedetto Del Trono (ITT) (10.5 km)

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The Feedback Cup (a.k.a. Our Version of the World Series)

It’s just about here.  Do you hear it? Listen!  In the dusty Colorado distance you can hear the ringing of cowbells and sizzling of bacon–all in preparation for the 4th Annual Feedback CUP!!! That’s right.  THIS Saturday (November 5th) is the big day! And while the history of this race might not go back to…oh, say that of the World Series (go Cubs!)  we still think it’s pretty special.  It is our World Series, so to speak. It’s therefore fitting to continue with that comparison for this blog.

History:

The inception of the World Series goes back to 1903 (although it began as early as 1884).  The first Feedback Sports Cup was in 2013 but our cyclocross racing spirit goes back years before that. Race director, Lee Waldman elaborates on the course and its race history, “When I was with Red Rock Velo we were looking for a new venue.  At that time, my wife (Caren) was the director at Lookout Mtn. Youth Services Center and she offered the venue to us.  We took it and ran with it.  At first it was just a stand alone weekend event and then about 5 or 6 years ago Chris McGee, who was Executive Director of BRAC at the time, came to me with the idea of a mid-week series.  That’s how B2B began.”

In 2013 Feedback Sports decided to piggy-back on this stellar course.  But faced the challenge of keeping the course fresh.  With Lee’s direction and the input from our team and community, we were able to pull it off and have been doing so ever since.

Home Field Advantage: 

Any sports aficionado knows the home field advantage is not a myth. Did we build our office specifically to be within a mile of this course?  Of cour-hor-hor-ourse not. (…awkward silence…) That would be silly (voice rises several octaves).  But Feedback Sports owner/founder, Doug Hudson admits, “The Feedback Cup is great because it’s in our hometown of Golden–about 1 mile from the office.  Our Feedback Sports racing team (and race director/team-mate Lee Waldman) puts a lot of time into making sure the race runs smoothly. The Feedback Cup course is staple on the local CX scene as it also hosts a Wednesday night series (late August through mid-October) in addition to our race so we are very familiar with all the sections. My favorite part of the day is seeing some of my neighbors come out to see what cyclocross racing is all about.”

This year’s course: 

Want to know what to expect this year?  The course is open to pre-ride, but for those of you who can’t make it, Lee’s added a few new features this year to keep things interesting. “The differences may be minor, but people who ride the B2B series will notice. The climbs are a bit different, some of the turns have different turning radiuses and slightly changed entries and exits,” says Waldman.  He adds,  “There’s a balance between technically challenging sections, more flowing pedaling sections and sections that require riders to be strategic in line choice, tire pressure, etc.  It’s turny, and technical, physically challenging, but a lot of fun at the same time.  I ride it at least 2 to 3 times a week and never get bored.” (Home fiellllllllllld advannnnnnnnnntage.)

The Die-Hards:  

Like the World Series, the Feedback Cup brings the heat when it comes to enthusiasm. Whether it’s the racers, the fans, co-sponsors, our announcer (Larry Grossman) or the food vendors, you can be sure everyone brings their A-game.

 

A prime example of this would be Feedback Sports racer (and in-house engineer) Will Allen. You can find him leading sunrise laps Wednesday mornings, riding the course at lunch and working on the course over the weekend.  Will loves racing cross, but it ties into his day-job more than one might think. “Racing gives me the opportunity to observe how consumers are truly using our products.  This helps push improvements to current products and can also drive developing new products, offering a solution to a problem we didn’t know existed.”

When asked what Will’s favorite part of the course he replied in true engineer fashion, “The section a little before, then through, and after the stairs.  Not sure how else to describe it.  I could answer this question better with a picture or GPS coordinates.”  We’ll settle for the course-preview video, Will (coming soon).

**SEVENTH INNING STRETCH.  Get up from your monitor, (or put your phone down) and sing along with the legendary Bill Murray.

The Sponsors: 

Fun World Series fact to wind things down: before the era of championship rings, triumphant players took home…timepieces. That’s right–as in pocket watches. We won’t be giving either of these items out to race winners, but we will have equal pay-outs, and a TON of other cool things. For the second year, all pre-registered racers will be entered to win an Omnium portable trainer.  Winner will be chosen Friday morning and presented their Omnium at the race on Saturday.

John Shearer from Finish Line / White Lightening has been instrumental in making this year’s race-day prize list better than ever! Spot Bicycles has graciously provided a Rallye frame set to raffle off on race day.  Crank Brothers has given us almost $5000 worth of product.  Jinji Cycles and Golden Bike shop are going to be on site providing technical support. We’d also like to give a special shout-out to The Amy D. Foundation.  As Lee Waldman noted, “They’ll be there on race day and simply thinking about who they are and why they exist reminds us of Amy’s dedication to the sport. And that’s a gift.”

In closing, we hope to see you there.  It would really mean…THE WORLD to us (sorry, couldn’t resist).

 

 

 

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Interbike: A Delight and Terror Since 1982.

interbike_2015

air supply album

Interbike. Upon doing a little research I found that it’s been alternately delighting and terrifying the bike industry since 1982.  Kind of like the band Air Supply (who coincidentally won “Album of the Year” in 1982). If you’ve never been to Interbike, allow me to break it down for you. And just for fun, let’s stick with the “1982 Air Supply” theme.
For the bike aficionado:
Pure delight. It’s as if you’ve been listening to the Air Supply cassette tape over and over again and after waiting all year, you’re flying to Vegas to see them in a huge group concert LIVE with front row tickets!!  You might even get to touch that one guy’s HAND (or hair)!  There are bright lights, loud noises and smoke (only at Interbike, it’s cigarette smoke instead of a fog machine).

concert
For the exhibitor:
Excitement/Terror. You are a mix between the band members and the roadie. You love singing “Sweet Dreams”.  You know it inside and out (you even sing it in your sleep). And suddenly it’s only a few days before your biggest group concert of the year.  You just need to get yourself, your fellow band members, and instruments onto the bus so that you MAKE it to said concert.

Annnnnnnnnnd then…someone has laryngitis (the van lights won’t work with the rented U-HAUL trailer).  Maybe one band member realizes they forgot their guitar (confession: I am out of business cards). Or quite often, another band decides against going to play this group concert but they still want to send their guitars, soooo could you please take theirs?  SURE THING. PLENTY OF ROOM! Juuuuuusst a little bit of pressure.

guitars_10

*Now add Cx Vegas into the mix (picture the lead singer of Air Supply going to race his bike after the big concert).

That’s Interbike.

But now prep-time is over. The van is on it’s way, with extra A-frames, stands, parts, bikes, snacks, signs, and Omnium trainers and our newly released TOOLS!! All band members are accounted for (at least as of today) and we’re more than ready for this concert to begin! We hope to see you all either at our booth (#11165) OR at Cx Vegas (look for our tent–it will be the fun one).


 

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Unsung Heroes of the Tour Part 3: Trek-Segafredo

A professional World Tour team brings around 50 bikes to the Tour de France.  Reliable equipment and mechanics is a must for any successful team. We provide the equipment, but the mechanics provide their top-notch skills. Our 3rd and final segment of “Unsung Heroes of the Tour” focuses on Trek-Segafredo’s head TdF mechanic: Kenneth Van de Wiele.

You may have caught Kenneth in this recent Wall Street Journal video: “How to Fix a Bicycle From a Moving Car“. He explains what it’s like maintaining a bike at 40+mph.  You know.  Just an average “day in the life” of a professional World Tour mechanic. See more about Kenneth in the Q/A below!

Unsung Heroes of the Tour Part 3: 

Kenneth Van de Wiele / Trek-Segafredo
Belgium (Ghent)

How did you get your start as a bike mechanic? I started as an intern in the bike shop from Walter Godefroot in Ghent while I was still racing myself.

Favorite stage of the TdF: Mountain stage to Mont Ventoux.

Best story from working at a race: The car leaving me behind on top of the Paterberg during the Tour of Flanders 2013, with 1 lap to go.

What is your bike of choice?  Trek Madone 9  (Have you SEEN this bike?  Go on.  Click the link.)

What do you in your past-time?  Ride my bike, run and enjoy life.

Favorite Feedback Sports Product: The Sprint work stand.

*Follow Kenneth on Instagram and Twitter for more!

As with all our partnerships, Feedback Sports is pleased to support team Trek-Segafredo.
As the Tour comes to a close, we wish the mechanics, the team directors and riders all the best!

 

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Unsung Heroes of the Tour Part 2: Lotto Soudal

Welcome to our Unsung Heroes of the Tour / Part Deux.  This week we’re focusing on Team Lotto Soudal.  We’d like to wish the team a HUGE congrats on De Gendt’s Mont Ventoux win. What a FINISH! But as we’ve said before, no rider wins alone.  It takes the entire team and staff to get them there.  So let’s take a peek inside this background of success as we showcase Lotto Soudal mechanic, Steven Van Olmen.

*Make sure you read through the whole thing…because we have a fun little treat at the end…

Unsung Heroes of the Tour Part 2: 

Steven Van Olmen / Lotto Soudal
Belgian mechanic – born in 1976

How did you get your start as a bike mechanic? I was a rider in the development team of sports director Herman Frison until 2001. I started immediately after as a mechanic in that team.

Favorite stage of the TdF: I’m always happy to be in Paris, but the atmosphere of on the local circuit, and the sprint of Champs Elysées can’t be beat.

Best story from working at a race: A few years ago I was in the car with sports director Roberto Damiani. The car had to stop to fix a problem but the sports director left, forgetting I was still at the side of the road. Fortunately another car from another team picked me up. A few kms further Damiani was aware he forgot me and stopped at the side of the road, so I could jump in the car again.

What is your bike of choice?  The Ridley Noah SL: very stylish frame from our sponsor Ridley.

What do you in your past-time?  Not so much spare time but I ride my bike sometimes. And Australia is my second home country. I went there for the first time in 2005 for Tour Down Under and go there every year from Christmas till Tour Down Under to see Australian friends.

Favorite Feedback Sports Product: Of course the Sprint stand. It’s very stable which is very important for a mechanic, made from nice materials and it looks good.

Steven Van Olmen

Pretty sweet, right? But you don’t have to be a pro mechanic for a World Tour team to get your hands on a Sprint stand.  You can win one with Team Lotto Soudal and Feedback Sports!! You might be screaming at your computer or favorite hand-held device right now, “HOW CAN I WIN?!?!”  Shhhhh. We’ll tell you. 

 

HOW TO WIN!
First, like the Facebook page of Lotto Soudal Cycling Team Fanpage and Feedback Sports. Then send Lotto Soudal, a private message (all hush-hush, and secret-like) on Facebook with your answers to the following questions:

  1. Where is Feedback Sports located?
  2. What is the name of the founder of Feedback Sports?
  3. The Le Tour de France stage to Mont Ventoux, won by Thomas De Gendt, didn’t finish at the summit. To which location was the finish line moved?

*Contest ends Sunday, July 17th at 16:00 CEST (Sunday AM here in the States, folks). The winner will be determined by draw (1 entry per person).

 

 

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Unsung Heroes of the Tour: Part 1

During the Tour de France, it can be easy to focus on the racers.  Admittedly we’re guilty of it too! They’re fast, flashy and dedicated! They exhibit skills mere mortals only dream of.  But there’s a group that often gets overlooked, that one could argue have the same qualities as the racers–the mechanics.  Without this support crew working tirelessly behind the scenes, the show (as they say) could not go on.  Over the next few weeks we’ll be focusing on these mighty, (yet often silent) Tour de France giants.  So hop in the team car and join us for the ride!

Unsung Heroes of the Tour Part 1:  

oil wheel TDF

Pascal Ridel / Tinkoff Sport

Bio: Pascal has enriched team Tinkoff with his presence for some years. He came to Tinkoff after a period with Credit Agricole. Pascal has a reputation for doing things properly and he always makes sure that the team truck is fully stocked for every situation – a crucial consideration that has come in handy many times.

DSC_4190_1

*We’re betting that last part is probably simplifying things.  If you’ve watched a single stage…wait… even about a ten minute span of a single stage, you know that anything can happen. An experienced mechanic anticipates every possible scenario within a race.  Pascal and his crew are clearly dialed and they pass this gift off to the riders each and every day.

Like all the World Tour teams we partner with, we feel quite fortunate to work with Tinkoff Sport. We’re cheering loudly from Colorado–and wish the mechanics, the team directors and of course the riders the best of luck at this year’s Tour de France!!

clappy hands

*Remember: check the #winwithtinkoff contest DAILY for your chance to win Feedback Sports products and more!  And you could be prepared for anything–just like Pascal. 

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Tour de France 2016

As we’ve mentioned before, our company lives by a somewhat “less than traditional” annual calendar.

  • The new year starts after Cyclo-Cross Nationals.
  • Spring arrives the day of the Paris-Roubaix.
  • Summer technically rolls in with the kick-off of the Tour de France.
  • Fall is Interbike (and Cross Vegas).
  • It’s officially “winter” when Omnium lunch-rides become the norm.

So here we are at the summer and the beginning stages of the most exciting event to cycling fanatics around the world. Here at Feedback Sports, we’re doubly invested in that all of us  fall into the “cycling fanatics” category, but we also look at this as the best product field-testing in the Universe.

We are fortunate enough to partner with four world-tour cycling teams–all of which will be at this year’s TDF; Tinkoff, Trek-Segafredo, Lotto-Soudal and IAM Cycling. Attending the Tour gives us a chance to connect with the team directors, mechanics and racers. We see them using our products with an almost super-human speed and elegance. We get to see our products being put to the test in some of the harshest conditions.  It also allows us to spot trends and get inspiration for new products. But don’t take my word for it.

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I was able to corner Doug Hudson (Feedback Sports founder/president) for a quick interview before he left for the TDF to see it through his eyes.  And I do mean “quick” because Doug is an engineer by trade and quite efficient (so it will only take you about 30 seconds to read it).
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Q: How many years have you/Feedback Sports attended the TDF?
A: This will be the 3rd year.

Q: What’s it like being in the pits with the mechanics?
A: I like watching their efficiency.  Typically there are two mechanics washing bikes and two mechanics checking and tuning the bikes.  With 9 racers there are up to 27 bikes to wash and maintain each day.  3 bikes for each rider (one on each of the two team cars and the one being ridden).

Q: Tell us about the crowds.
A: The crowds are impressive in shear size and enthusiasm.  The climbs are the craziest, but each town the tour goes through usually has a Jumbotron showing the race and a party atmosphere.

Q: Favorite stage:
A: The Mt Ventoux stage should be epic!  We were able to ride Mt Ventoux last summer, so I can’t wait to see what happens in the race up it.

Q: Most memorable TDF story/experience:
A: In 2014, Lisa (Doug’s wife and co-founder of Feedback Sports) and I got to ride in the team cars of IAM Cycling.  As huge Tour fans, it doesn’t get any better than this; seeing the peloton up close, listening to race radio and hearing the team tactics from the Sport Directors.  It’s amazing how good the drivers are at dealing with all the chaos around.  Descending at 50+ MPH with racers and fans all over the place takes some serious skill.

Q: How will this year be different from previous trips?
A: This is our first time in the Pyrenees so we are excited to check out the famous climbs like the Col du Tourmalet and Col d’Aspin.


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See? Told you. Fast and efficient.

We’ve got some fun things planned for the next few weeks.  As the Tour gets rolling there will be a few contests (Tinkoff and Lotto Soudal), plus a few other little gems that will make you feel like you’re along for the ride (even if you can’t be there in person).  So make sure you follow us and our partnered teams on social media because you won’t want to miss a thing!!

*We’ll even have a commercial on NBC (set to run on July 14th).  
We’re a bit excited.
Yep. Just a bit. 

 

Continue reading Tour de France 2016