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Heraclitus and the Purple Tiger

There’s an ancient quote from a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher that (roughly translated) states, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”  (Heraclitus of Ephesus).  It alludes to ever-present change as being the fundamental essence of the universe. You’re probably wondering, “Why would Feedback Sports start waxing poetic in a blog post?” Well, let us tell you. It seems a fitting quote to an athlete who is dubbed, “The Purple Tiger”. Rachel McBride is one of our supported pro triathletes . She’s one of the strongest cyclists on the world circuit and below she writes about a recent special win…in her hometown. As athletes we often run the same trails, race the same courses and often compare our past life vs. current while doing so.  Rachel may not be stepping in the same river twice, but she’s certainly swam there more than a few times.  Find out what it was like to take the podium in her hometown for her 3rd IRONMAN 70.3 win in Victoria.

Ironman 70.3 Victoria CHAMPION!

I have to admit, I was really surprised to run myself onto the top step of the podium at IRONMAN 70.3 Victoria, as my main focus right now is on full distance IRONMAN racing this year, and I headed into this local favourite on tired, un-tapered legs. This is a very special race for me: 2 years ago I hit this pretty much “hometown” start line as my return to racing after 13 months off from injury. My family, including young niece and nephew, were on the sidelines cheering then and of course again this year. Getting a high-5 from my 4 year old nephew was definitely the highlight of the day. 

This race was a fun experiment in seeing what I can do with some fatigue and some risk taking in a strong women’s field. I have been bested in other races over the years by the top contenders on this start line. My race strategy was to go out strong and consistent to try and best those speedy women.

I started the day off with another game-changing swim, coming out of the water only 8 seconds down from speedy swimmer Spieldenner whose feet I’d lost about halfway through. On the bike I quickly took the lead, but world record holder Annett caught me 50km in, and I just couldn’t keep on her. She’s a beast on that bike! She put three and a half minutes on me heading into T2. So I put my head down and went out at that just-so uncomfortable half marathon pace for 2 gorgeous 10.5 km laps on the Elk Lake trails.

I was stoked to see my pace staying strong and consistent. Coming around after loop 1, I got an incredible boost from the crowd support (and my precious high-5!). In fact, I’d taken 90 seconds out of Annett’s lead and powered on to narrow that gap even more. I built confidence as I saw my km splits getting faster on the 2nd round and finally took the lead with 3 km to go. Once again it was an emotional run down that finish shoot, 2 years later in such different circumstances, to take my 3rd IRONMAN 70.3 win.

What’s Rachel’s favorite Feedback Sports product? The Omnium of course.

“My Feedback Sports Omnium Portable Trainer saved me while travelling to race on the other side of the planet. In my lead-up to Ironman South Africa, Cape Town’s notorious winds started gusting at 100 kmh – too dangerous to ride outside. I am so thankful for the Omnium as it allowed me to get my workout in, despite the inclement weather. No matter the weather, traffic, road conditions, etc. the Omnium Portable Trainer is easy to travel with and ready in seconds so you can get your training in on the road without any worry or disruption. I’m never leaving home without it again!”

Find out more about Rachel at www.rachelmcbride.com.

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Q&A with Pro Mechanic, Doug Sumi – Team Holowesko|Citadel

With the 2018 Amgen Tour of California now underway, we thought we’d check in with one of our favorite supported teams racing it– Team Holowesko|Citadel.  Read the Q&A below with head mechanic, Doug Sumi (one of the most entertaining pro-mechanics we know) to find out what a day in the life is like for a mechanic at an event like the TOC, what super-secret skill every mechanic needs and what Feedback Sports product is practically glued to Doug’s side at every race.

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FBS: Tell us a little bit about yourself, Doug. 
Doug: Doug Sumi/ Seattle, Washington. I enjoy Imperial stouts and light roast coffees, though typically not in that order.

FBS: What led you to being a professional bike mechanic for Team Holowesko|Citadel
Doug: A friend of mine needed helping running a crit pit in front of the bike shop I used to work at in Seattle (Recycled Cycles). Since I had never worked in that situation before I was mainly in charge of pumping bike tires and setting up tents. After a pretty big crash I got handed a bike with a very bent derailleur hanger and my friend said I had 15 seconds to fix it our that racer was out. 15 seconds later I was pushing him back into the race with a bike that mostly shifted. After that I was hooked. I worked a lot of local events around Seattle to get started and since then have spent time with Hagens-Berman, Jamis, Raleigh-Clement, and Kona Factory CX and am just starting my 4th season with Holowesko-Citadel.

FBS: Explain a day-in the life of a pro road mechanic.
Doug: I like, sometimes to the frustration of my roommate, to be up an hour before any work has to start. I spend the first hour of the day drinking coffee, reading something that has nothing to do with bike racing and hopefully breathing slowly. After that we start the day in earnest. Bikes come out of the trailer and get aired up, spares of everything checked and loaded into the car(s). Breakfast generally happens right before or right after this depending on our setup. Then we head to the start. Mechanics float around a little bit and chat with the riders. Good riders always check out their bikes before they roll to the start. No one is perfect and typically if we’ve done our job well there won’t be any issues but we are always around to make sure everything is as good as it can be. Some guys just double check their wheel skewers are tight and brake calipers are centered, others take out a tape measure and double check saddle height or saddle fore and aft.

Once the race has started you’re hopefully in for a nice relaxing afternoon trying not to stay awake in the back seat of the team car. For us, the more boring the better. Any busy day for mechanics is not a good day for your riders. And in the end they are the ones that matter, otherwise all the TV coverage would be of us trying not to fall asleep. If there is a mechanical, flat tire, crash, any of those things we do our best to remedy any issues quickly and get the rider back in the race. With spare bikes on the roof and spare wheels in the car we usually can remedy any equipment issues pretty quickly. After the finish it’s back to the trailer. Every race bike gets washed, dried and gone over to make sure it’s 100% for the next day. We may also change out gearing or wheels depending on what the next stage looks like. Part of the reason we wash bikes every day is it makes it much easier to spot small issues before they affect the race. Small pieces of glass in tires or lightly bent links in chains are much easier to see on a very clean bike. It may seem like overkill from the outside but it’s very critical to what we do. If there were flats or crashes we replace parts or glue fresh tires. Then the cars get washed, trailer is packed and locked, and hopefully we have time for some dinner and a beer.

FBS: What’s a super-secret skill you are really happy you have as a mechanic?
Doug: I can eat really fast (apparently a genetic talent) and can sleep almost anywhere that isn’t an airplane. When you have really busy days, sometimes it’s nice to be able to knock out dinner in 5 minutes and get a good amount of sleep in a bed you’ve never slept in before.

FBS: Any crazy stories about pulling off the impossible before or during a race?
Doug: I was in the car last year at Tour of Utah when Robin Carpenter crashed and broke his helmet. Typically there is a spare helmet in the car but someone had pulled it out before the stage. For very good reasons riders are required to replace broken helmets before they can continue racing and we were standing with Robin who was literally seconds away from dropping out of the race. As we were trying to find a solution a man on the side of the street offered to walk to his house a couple blocks away and lend Robin his personal helmet. A couple minutes later Robin, rocking a early 90’s era Specialized helmet, was chasing back on to the peloton. He ended up getting 4th I think on that stage. That gentlemen also has a Holowesko-Citadel Giro helmet at his house now.

FBS: If time travel were a thing: who would win a sprint finish between Sean Kelly and Freddy Maertens?
Doug: I’m going to go with Sean Kelly here, but if time travel were a thing I would go back and tell my former self to watch many more classic cycling highlight reels. Then I would feel like I was more informed to make such decisions.

FBS: What’s your favorite Feedback Sports product and why?
Doug: I love my Sprint Bike Repair Stand. It’s a solid and firm way to hold any bike that I work on and the spinning action makes for faster/easier bike washing and fixing. When you can stand in one spot close to your tools and move the bike instead of your body everything is closer at hand and much more efficient. Plus I can carry it on to an airplane or easily fit it in my checked luggage. Road races in California or cross world cups in Belgium you won’t see me without one.

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*The team last raced in the Amgen Tour of California in 2015, when Tom Skujins came out of the shadows to win Stage 3, setting the trajectory for his professional career.

This year, Holowesko|Citadel brings seven of its strongest riders to the the tour: John Murphy, TJ Eisenhart, Brendan Rhim, Andrei Krasilnikau, Fabian Lienhard, Ruben Companioni, and Miguel Bryon. Lienhard proved his clout while racing in Europe, earning a win during the first stage of the Tour of Normandie, as well as placing a close fourth in Stage 6 of Tour of Croatia. Murphy has always been a strong sprinter for the team, taking the first stage of Circuit des Ardennes this season, as well as back-to-back wins at the Athens Twilight Criterium and multiple wins at this year’s Tour of Southern Highlands.

“We’re excited to be back at Amgen Tour of California this year,” says Rich Hincapie, manager for the team. “With the team being in Europe this time around, the riders have had much experience and preparation. This year, we have a mix of climbers, sprinters, and all-rounders, so I feel good about our chances for a stage win.”

Chief sports director Thomas Craven has high hopes as well, particularly for rider TJ Eisenhart. “TJ has been looking forward to this race and the competition. I am banking that he brings the sunshine to Santa Barbara and the Gibraltar climb.”

You can follow the team’s adventures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

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Three Tips to Enjoy and Leverage the Offseason – Chris Mayhew

~Originally posted Jan 24, 2017 – via Cyclocross Magazine /Chris Mayhew

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Coach Chris Mayhew heeded his own advice and took a brief break from cyclocross season’s efforts, but the author, racer and coach is back. Whether you raced 2017 Nationals, have road or mountain bike goals or just hope to improve on this past cyclocross season, coach Mayhew of JBV Coaching has some helpful tips to make the most of the offseason…

What should I be doing? It’s a question I’ve been getting almost every day from new clients, friends, and clients just coming off cyclocross season. Most of us are pretty driven and like to feel like we’re doing work every day so this time of year can feel discomforting. It’s a long way from next cyclocross season but sitting around isn’t something most of us are good at. I have three suggestions that will get you through the next couple of months till the weather breaks.

If you went to Nationals this year, congratulations. That was one for the books, no matter how your individual race went. If you did go, chill out for a month and don’t feel obligated to do anything but eat and relearn the names of your loved ones. Come back to this column in a month or so. It’ll be here.

Conditions varied in Hartford, but if you raced there, coach Mayhew says a break from training is unconditionally mandatory. photo: Snowy conditions greeted racers to start today's racing. 2017 Cyclocross National Championships, Masters Men 30-34. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Conditions varied in Hartford, but if you raced there, coach Mayhew says a break from training is unconditionally mandatory. photo: Snowy conditions greeted racers to start today’s racing. 2017 Cyclocross National Championships, Masters Men 30-34. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

If you didn’t go to Nationals then you probably ended your season sometime in mid-December. What’s your next goal? Many people race only cyclocross, so they’re not competing until August or so. Some people race mountain bikes or road during the offseason and will be racing around April in colder climates, or sooner if you live in areas like California, Texas or Florida. If you’re planning on the latter, my first suggestion is to get on some sort of organized plan (created by you or a coach).

Plan out your offseason training and workouts to slowly build back fitness. photo: Justin See

Plan out your offseason training and workouts to slowly build back fitness. photo: Justin See

The journey from offseason to race shape takes three to four months and you’d do well to get started on that now. That’s particularly important if you plan to race on the road, which is not a lot of fun if you aren’t in razor sharp form, unlike mountain bike racing and cyclocross. Keep in mind the words “journey” and “fitness,” I want to circle back to those in a bit.

“If you did go, chill out for a month and don’t feel obligated to do anything but eat and relearn the names of your loved ones. Come back to this column in a month or so.”

If your main goals for the summer are simply to ride, have fun or do Jeremy Powers’ Grand FUNdo, you have a bit more time on your hands, which is nice. That means there’s less pressure on you to get into shape now when riding often means riding indoors or outside in less-than-desirable conditions. What should you be doing with that time? I’d encourage you to do two things:

One is to do things you haven’t done at all, or want to get back to. Cycling takes place all in one plane of movement and involves relatively few muscles. Anything you can do to develop strength in muscles long ignored (or never developed) is great. Plus, your training load is low right now and shouldn’t be focused on cycling, so you can do things that would normally leave you too tired for cycling. Start lifting weights, do CrossFit, go running, go swimming.

The offseason is a great time to try something new, like Crossfit, says coach Mayhew. photo: Artic Warrior / Justin Connaher

The offseason is a great time to try something new, like Crossfit, says coach Mayhew. photo: Artic Warrior / Justin Connaher

Get started on a yoga program or increase your practice by a few days a week. All of those things encourage strengthening and involve movements you’d never do in cycling, which are good things. Moreover, they let you check that box of “doing work” every day which is good for any athlete’s head while developing a sense of self outside of cycling. A lot of us can get depressed around this time because we’re not riding and that can be related to not getting your endorphin fix from exercise. So get moving in some form that’s not cycling.

Second, I realize that we do like to ride our bikes, and so if you are going to ride your bike, there’s one workout I’d encourage you to incorporate at least once a week: threshold training. The classic version of this workout is two efforts of twenty minutes each at lactate threshold, functional threshold power, or however you choose to anchor your intensity level schema or want to define fitness. If you don’t have an anchor, think about doing a steady time trial for 20-30 minutes and riding at that pace in that manner. (Pro tip: start the effort easier than you think you should and try to increase the effort a small bit every five minutes) I think 2×20 minutes is something to work up to. Start with smaller blocks, but no shorter than 8 minutes. Do 2×8 and add a few minutes to each block every week. When you get to 2×20 then you can think about adding intensity to the workout rather than minutes.

Trainer work isn't fun for many of us, but doing threshold work now will pay off later in the form of fitness, speed and results. © Cyclocross Magazine

Trainer work isn’t fun for many of us, but doing threshold work now will pay off later in the form of fitness, speed and results. © Cyclocross Magazine

This work is not that exciting and can be somewhat laborious. But it’s the flour to build your cake in the analogy for which I am so fond of using (see Hiring a Coach and Training for Gravel, Embracing Offseason Training and Turning Down Volume and Upping the Power for key steps to that recipe). It takes a long time to build threshold power, on the order of several months, so you’ll need to do a lot of these, which means you should get started now. This is a workout I think you should do 40 weeks out of the year, give or take.

The hard part about riding your bike right now is that you’re at the beginning of your journey back to regaining fitness you once enjoyed. And for weeks or months of doing threshold workouts, or any ride, you’re not going to be where you were. A lot of people tend to get really down about how fat or out of shape they feel during this time. What they’re doing is comparing where they are or “should be” to where they are right now. I would really encourage you to avoid that mindset. Focus on where you are now and embrace it. Spend your mental energy on figuring out what you can do today, to work towards your goal. No single workout will make or break your season. It’s a large body of work, over weeks and months, that matter.

Think about what you can do today and be happy with yourself when you do that thing. Do you get mad at yourself because you’re not on vacation right now and think poorly of yourself? Or do you figure out a plan of where and when you can go on vacation, look forward to that, and make sure you pack everything you want for that vacation? Look forward to the journey and doing the work. If you’re just looking for results, you won’t last long in this sport because those are far and few between. If you can learn to love the journey and take pleasure in it, you’ll ride your bike for as much of your life as you want to.

“Spend your mental energy on figuring out what you can do today, to work towards your goal. No single workout will make or break your season.”

I think actor/DJ Idris Elba has some good words here in that regard:

Lastly I’d tell you that even if you could get into August form tomorrow, somehow you’d spend all of February thinking you should be fitter or leaner. Learn to be happy where you are and learn to love making small steps to another place, day in and day out.

Have your best cyclocross season ever with all of our Training and Technique Tuesday pieces here from coaches Mayhew, Adam Myerson and Kenneth Lundgren and others. Can’t get enough? See our Cyclocross Academy and Cyclocross 101 articles here. Mayhew expects to contribute Training Tuesday installments every two weeks in the offseason. 

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The Importance of a Bike Fit

Originally posted Aug 1st, 2018 / Gear Tips
Courtesy of Team Holowesko|Citadel p/b Arapahoe Resources 

Team Holowesko/Citadel racer, TJ Eisenhart putting in the miles on the Omnium Over-Drive.

 

The average pro bike racer is in the saddle around 30 hours for a hard training week, about half that for an “easy week.” The Tour de France covers around 3500 km (2200 mi). If we’re talking about mere mortals: logging 10 to 15 hours a week in your cycling training plan would get you the respectable head-nod within your local racing scene.  Seven to 10 hours/week would keep you fit as a fiddle. But whether your weekly rides total three hours or 30, if your bike doesn’t fit you properly, you could be in for a world of pain.

A poor fit might start with something fairly innocuous like saddle sores, mild discomfort, or a weak pedal stroke, but it can quickly progress to knee and back injuries or worst of all … slower speeds and reduced power!  In short: there’s a long, negative list of very bad things that can easily be avoided with the right fit and accessories.

If you google “How to fit yourself on a bike,” you’ll get plenty of advice. Pages and pages of advice via step-by-step tutorials, videos, etc. But we suggest consulting a professional for several very basic, yet key reasons:

 EVERY ATHLETE IS DIFFERENT

One person’s femur length, hip flexion, arm-reach, core muscles, pelvis width, etc. is quite different than another’s. When things are out of whack (which can be hard to diagnose just by just looking down at your bike/body) your body will attempt to compensate and that’s when folks get injured.

A PROPER FIT ENSURES COMFORT

Comfort leads to enjoyment, which leads to more riding, which leads to puppies and butterflies (or puppies and cyclocross) and World peace.

A WELL-FIT BIKE IS A FAST BIKE

That’s right. If you’re not riding with an optimal fit, you’re likely sacrificing speed and power. Why would anyone ever want to do that?

BIKE PERSONALIZATION

A good fit might mean swapping out certain things like handlebars, saddle, stem, pedals, shoes, etc. This is referred to as “bike personalization” in Fit-Land. If you’ve been a cyclist for a while, you might have an arsenal of spare parts and accessories in your garage. But if not, not to worry! A professional bike fitter can make suggestions, swap out accessories, and make these adjustments for you, right at the shop or their studio so you can “try before you buy.”

There are many types of professional bike-fit methods out there. Some shops and studios may have elaborate in-house bike-fit systems, and others just use a traditional trainer in a quiet corner or a side-room of the shop. One trend we’re noticing is that the Feedback Sports Omnium Over-Drive Trainer is becoming a staple of professional fitters all around the world. Fitters have come to the conclusion that the same features of the Omnium that appeal to pro and amatuer cyclists make it the perfect bike-fit tool as well.

  • Simple fork-mount design: This allows for quick and easy set-up. Ask any racer (or rather a pro-racer’s mechanic) and they’ll tell you just how fast and easy they are. No fiddling with your rear cassette, no need for a trainer-wheel vs. a racing or riding wheel, no derailleur adjustments, etc.

  • Compatibility: The Omnium Over-Drive accommodates Road, MTB, CX, TT, BMX and even Folding Bikes as it accepts QR, 12×100, 15×100, 15×110 (Boost) Thru axles.*

  • Lightweight and portable: At under 14 pounds, the Omnium Over-Drive folds up easily and comes with its own tote-bag. If you’re an athlete, this means hassle-free travel to the races. But its compact nature also makes it perfect for small spaces at home. These same features allow a shop or studio to maximize precious space, and even allow the fitter to take it with them if they wish to fit a client in the comfort of their own home or on the road.

  • Internal Progressive Resistance: Just because it’s small and compact doesn’t mean it doesn’t pack a powerful punch. The Omnium Over-Drive’s magnetic resistance is hiding in its two round, aluminum drums. The faster you pedal, the more resistance you’ll feel. But instead of the loud sounds of a wind or fluid trainer, it’s quiet. For athletes, you can hit this trainer with your hardest workouts. If you’re at the races, it’s perfect for warming up or spinning for a cool-down. A fitter will appreciate being able to talk to their client rather than having to yell over the trainer, and she or he will be able to watch your pedal stroke on the spectrum of an easy, relaxed pace, as well as standing up and hammering.

TESTIMONIALS:

“As a professional bike fitter, The Omnium Over-Drive Trainer has been the most versatile and adaptable trainer on the market. With the advancement of through axles, having the ability to use one trainer with different spacing options for all wheel sizes and axle widths has freed me up to focus on fitting. It is an indispensable tool of the trade.”

-George Mullen, Professional Bike Fitter, Peak Cycles, Golden, CO

“Traveling with a team’s worth of equipment is always a challenge. Trying to figure out how to get trainers anywhere used to be one of my least favorite tasks. The Omnium has really been a game changer for us. Light enough to fly with, quiet enough to use in a hotel room, and compact enough to pack out of the way until they are needed. Plus with the massive range of compatibility, you can always lend one out if another team is in need.”

-Doug Sumi, Chief Mechanic, Holowesko|Citadel p/b Arapahoe Resources

Chances are you’ll see more of the Omnium Over-Drive in the near future. Look for it in the overhead of an airplane, on the balcony of a hotel, at pro or local races, and of course…at your local bike shop in the hands of a professional bike fitter. For more information about the Omnium Over-Drive, please click here!

*Additional adapters for Lefties and QRx74mm can be purchased separately if needed. 

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The Feedback Sports Gift Guide

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

It’s that time of year!! Everyone is busy playing reindeer games; slogging through the mud and snow, spraying each other with power-washers, picking grass out of chains, and the whirring of an Omnium Over-Drive fills the air like the Carol of the Bells, …wait. We got the holidays mixed up with the peak of Cyclocross season. Let’s try that again.  Ahem. THE HOLIDAYS are UPON US!!  And while our products have been listed in several amazing Holiday Bicycle Gift Guides*, we thought we’d put a little gift guide together of our own.  We asked several co-workers to share what their favorite Feedback Sports Product is and why.


The Feedback Sports Gift Guide

  1. Thomas McDaniel (Product Marketing Manager): “The Dual-Sided Pic. It’s one of those tools that forces you to look at your bike differently. When I put it in my hand I automatically want to slow down and pay close attention to how my bike is doing – in that way it’s one of the most important tools in my collection.” – This says a lot because Thomas’s “collection” is…robust.  
  2. Scott Knight (Western Sales Manager): “The Bottle Opener. Because it’s ridiculously over-built and awesome.”
  3. Jeff Nitta (Vice President): “The Velo Wall Post.  I like its simplicity for hanging bikes when prepping them for a ride.  I have one at the end of my garage so I can pump up the tires, lube the chain and check to make sure the bike is ready to go.  When I’m done with it I fold it up and it’s out of the way.”
  4. Sammy Rutherford (Eastern Sales Manager: “My Omnium Trainer!! Nothing keeps my legs in better cycling shape during the off-season.”
  5. Will Allen (Product Engineer): “My favorite FBS product is the one currently in development.  The products we currently have are all great, but what we’re working on for the future is even better.”  Wow. Well played, Will. 
  6. Mike Guinta (Product Engineer): “Eggnog.”  “Mike, we don’t make eggnog.”  “…Fine. Tools. I like the tools.”
  7. Lisa Hudson (Co-Owner/Accounting): “The Velo Hinge because it maximizes the storage space for my quiver of bikes!

And there you have it–straight from the folks at Feedback Sports.


We wish you a very merry Holiday Season.  We hope you enjoy the time with your family, friends annnnnnnnd, we also hope you get the chance to sneak out for a ride. It’s never too cold. Never.

*And finally, here’s that list of legitimate Gift Guides we mentioned earlier, plus a contest that would make someone’s holiday very Merry, indeed. 

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Want to be a better cyclocross racer? Avoid the avoidable, says coach Chris Mayhew.

With the upcoming United States Cyclocross National Championships , we invited JBV Coaching’s Chris Mayhew to share his thoughts on how to prepare for the big race at hand. Mayhew has actively raced for over 25 years – toeing the line at elite cyclocross, road, MTB and time trial events.  He puts on cycling training camps, cycling skills clinics, and rumor has it, he’s also quite the bike mechanic. In other words, Chris lives and dies for cyclocross and has the experience to know what makes a bike racer successful.  Anyone prepping for that “big race” has trained their body to be ready. Chris’s tips can ensure your bike is ready, too.
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You’ve spent months training and analyzing your data, hours researching the right hashtags and filters for your #crossiscoming posts and then on race day all that hard work comes undone from a preventable mechanical. Bummer.

Ben Bergeron says there are 5 things you can control as a racer: sleep, recovery, nutrition, training and mindset. I would add that for bike racing you can also control the initial state of your equipment. That said, I realize it’s challenging to put in the work as a bike racer and then have to be a bike mechanic too. My experience has proven there are two really easy ways to provide the best return on your time and keep your equipment in for cyclocross season.

First, wash your bike.

Bill Marshall (KCCX) getting the job done in fine fashion.

This can take many forms, and it’s somewhat situational dependent. After a muddy ride or race, the minimum you should do is lean the bike up against something and hit it with a hose to knock the majority of the mud off. This will keep your sidewalls and any metal parts on the bike happy along with the cables, if you still have any of those! Spend two minutes on this.

It doesn’t need to be perfect, it needs to be clean enough to lube a chain and see the details of the drivetrain components. The real action happens with a deeper wash, which should happen once a week. Remove the wheels, install a chain keeper, and put the bike in a repair stand. I prefer dropout-style repair stands for washing and detailed work, but also have the luxury of a standard upright repair stand too. Get a bucket, some brushes and some Dawn soap and go to town. This isn’t about being a black shoe, white sock roadie. Think of this as an active meditation with your bike. Clean all the surfaces, making sure some sort of cleaner (soap for the bike, de-greaser for the chain) gets liberally applied and washed off. As you do this, have a close look at the frame and all the moving, rotating and gliding components. Spin the cranks while you clean them and feel for looseness or crunchiness in the bearings (bottom bracket, pedal and derailleur). Think about any issues you had with the bike when you last rode it – the minute I dismount my bike, I seem to forget any problem I had until the next time I ride.

This whole bike wash process should take around 15-20 minutes from the time you fill the bucket until you put the bike back in storage. The main point in all of this is to engage with every part of the bike and catch things like bent chain links or worn cables before they become a problem on race day. This is a great time to quickly check your brake pads too.

So yes, you get a clean bike out of it, but more importantly it’s a bike inspection and preventative maintenance.

In tandem with the above, and maybe even while you still have it in the stand, check your bolts.

You don’t have to do this every week, but once a month run through the stem, seat-post and saddle bolts at minimum. I’m in love with my Feedback Sports Range for this sort of work. You can loosen and tighten any bolt with it (unlike most torque wrenches) and it comes in a very handy little case that keeps all the bits in one place. All my other torque bits are scattered somewhere across my work bench at this point. I’ve taken to just keeping my Range in my race clothing bag as a race day essential.

As I said earlier, bike maintenance is definitely something you can control – it’s called “preventative maintenance” for a reason, and it’s a great use of your time – I’ve witnessed too many races undone by the avoidable. And as with any task, the right tool makes it easier and faster to do, which means you’re more likely to do it.

Racing bikes is hard work, on and off the field. Don’t let all your hours of training and preparation come undone by one loose bolt. Spend some time owning the state of your equipment. Get it clean enough to notice any small issues before they become a race day nightmare. Run through the bolts periodically to make sure nothing is loose and don’t forget the bolts in your shoes. If you want to make all of the above easier  to perform there are some Feedback Sports items that would be worth putting on your wish-list.

Good luck at your races, and remember: you can often make your own luck.

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Thanks for the words of wisdom, Chris! Follow Chris on IG, Facebook and Twitter for more. You can also catch his articles on Cyclocross Magazine. 

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TLC for Your Bike Repair Stand

Your trusty wash and work stand has tirelessly held onto your bike(s) hundreds of times so you can freely use both hands to wash, fiddle, adjust, and dial in your favorite ride to keep it in tip top shape, but when is the last time you gave your stand a little love in return? The nice thing about our line of bike repair stands is that they don’t require much, but with a little bit of TLC and inspection of potentially worn parts, you can keep your stand functioning like the first day you laid eyes on each other.  If you’re into bike maintenance and keeping everything in tip-top shape–why not include your bike repair stand?  Read on to find out how to keep things wash and work  running smoothly, which leads to your bike running smoothly, which in turn leads to adorable canines and world peace.

Now that your stand is dirty from the grime that has come off of your bike from a good season of riding, here are a few helpful tips and tricks to get your stand dialed so you can focus on keeping your bike clean and happy.

Clean it up.

Feedback Sports repair stands are made from premium materials to stand up to the elements, so they aren’t afraid of a little soap and water. Some basic Dawn dish soap in a bucket of warm water will serve as a safe and friendly cleaning agent that’s both easy on the stand and your hands. A soft brush such as the one that you use for cleaning your bike is typically sufficient for removing grime around moving parts and will be easy on your stand’s finish.

(PRO tip: Instead of adding soap first then adding water to create the bubbles, reverse the process by adding soap to water and allowing it to dissolve for a moment. A shot of pressured water will agitate the solution and give you bubbles that will last exponentially longer and be more effective for cleaning).

Shake and dry.

After you give your stand a sudsy bath, grab onto the main center tubes and give the stand a good shake to get some water off of the surfaces. A drop motion followed by an abrupt stop is typically a good method for shaking some of the water off. Follow up with a soft and absorbent cloth over all of the main surfaces to remove any grime you may have missed in the washing phase. Letting your stand hang out in the warmth of the sun will allow all of the non-reachable places to dry out entirely.

(Sunglasses optional; however, your stand does appreciate stylish accessories to accentuate it’s already silky good looks).
Keep things moving freely.

Your repair stand has moving parts that like to stay moving freely. Keeping these moving parts lubricated periodically will protect them during repeated wash cycles and make your life easier when it comes time to setting your stand up or folding it back down.  Give a drop of chain lube to areas such as the barrel nut inside the QR levers or the cam interface of the QR to make the actuation smoother. Follow up with a rag to pick up any excess chain lube that may have dripped.

(Note: Don’t lubricate the main telescoping tube as it will not have sufficient grip for keeping your bike suspended in the spot you want it).
Take a closer look.

Once everything has been cleaned up, a good once over to see how your parts are wearing is a good idea. Pay attention to rubber foot plugs and clamp jaws as they typically see the most amount of wear on the stand. Having some spare parts in your toolbox is a nice way to minimize any downtime in case something does need to be replaced from wear. Replacement parts can be found at the following link: Work Stand Replacement Parts .

Enjoy a cold one.

Finally, don’t forget to grab a cold drink and use your stand’s bottle opener to access the delicious contents inside. Sit back, relax, and take a moment to marvel over your freshly cleaned ride and repair stand.

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Recover Like a Pro – Alicia Kaye

How to Recover Like a Pro

Every athlete, at any level at some point should think about recovery.  It’s an easy topic to ignore as taking breaks and resting can be counter-intuitive when you’re pushing your body to get faster and stronger.  But any coach or top-level athlete will attest that it’s one of the MOST important things you can do to improve your performance.  We thought we’d turn to one of our supported pro triathletes for some practical, but often over-looked advice on recovery.  Having just taken 2nd at Ironman 70.3 Coquimbo, Alicia Kaye is most likely taking her own advice so she can be refreshed and ready for her next challenge.

*And when we say “pro”, we mean it. Here are but a few of Alicia’s accomplishments: 2 x Lifetime Series Champion, 2 x St. Anthony’s Champion, 2 x Kona World Championship qualifier and 5 x 70.3 Champion. 


I often get asked for racing and training tips. While those are very important, equally key are recovery tips. Here are my “PERTs”“Performance Enhancing Recovery Tips”! Get fitter and faster by resting!

Sleeping and Napping
Try to make sure you are getting adequate sleep for the amount of training you are doing. As a pro athlete, it is my job to make this a priority. However, this became much harder when I was a student or working a job and training at the same time. Everyone’s sleep needs are different.

We all sort of know the ideal amount we need to feel good that day. My feel-good amount is 8.  If I get 7 hours, I just feel okay, but I feel down right sick if I sleep less than 7 hours. My ideal amount is 9+. Ironically, I am terrible at napping. My body just doesn’t want to do it, except at altitude! So I will just lie there – no electronics near me – and rest quietly. Someone once told me that laying there free from distraction is 50% the value of actual sleep. Whether or not this is true doesn’t matter to me since the theory really helped curb my sleep anxiety as a kid when I struggled with falling asleep.

Food
Make sure you are eating enough for the amount of training you are doing. Our sport is hard and demanding so it’s important to make sure you are fueling it adequately.  Thinking about food purely from a recovery perspective, make sure you get in a recovery drink or food within 15 minutes of a hard workout.  I always aim for the 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. If I’m training in a particularly warm environment, I’ll sip on Base Rocket Fuel to help replenish my electrolytes. Then within 60 minutes, I follow it up with a proper meal. After particularly hard sessions, I can feel nauseous so I really have to be disciplined about this time line. I also simply listen to my body. If I’m craving lots of salt and fat then I will have a meal that is a reflection of that.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day so here are two my favorite big session recovery meals:

  • Fat cakes

I use Pamela’s gluten free pancake mix but I don’t follow the recipe at all. I add 3 eggs, milk or almond milk, honey, vanilla and olive oil.  I make the batter on the thin side since I prefer a crepe style pancake. I cook each one in coconut oil.  I top these beauties with fresh berries, full fat Greek yogurt and real maple syrup.

  • Yogurt, berry and granola bowl 

This one is fast and easy to make. I have this EVERY DAY.  I cannot live without this meal for my second breakfast. I have as much full fat yogurt as I like (usually around a cup), tons of fresh berries, a huge helping of Bungalow Munch granola and then top with honey, dark chocolate or pretzels if I am craving salt.

Are you an Extrovert or Introvert? 
Let your recovery time reflect that personality trait. If you aren’t sure if you are an extrovert or introvert, ask yourself a simple question. Would you rather “charge your batteries” by yourself or with a select few people or would you rather go out in a more public setting with a larger group of friends?

I was pretty extroverted when I was in high school and college but now as an adult I am definitely more introverted. So when I need to recover, I make sure my downtime is a reflection of this.  I like to write, read, bake, or watch a movie to mentally recover.

Body Work
I firmly believe in body work that includes modalities such as massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, MAT, laser, etc. These require an investment of time and money but if you have both, then these will assist in your recovery and general health and well-being. My secret weapon is AMP Performance Lotion to help buffer lactic acid before and after all my big training sessions. It works!!

NormaTec (you know…those big puffy-leg-things you see people using)
My husband started working with NormaTec almost 10 years ago. I remember the first time I used them. I was a little skeptical. But sure enough, my legs did feel better. Then we had them at a masters swim meet and anyone that has been a competitive swimmer knows how the lactic acid can really accumulate over a 2-3 day meet. I, along with the rest of our team, was using the NormaTec system in between events and that’s what solidified my belief.

My legs didn’t feel heavy.  I was recovering faster in between events and swimming consistently instead of feeling completely exhausted by day 3. Now I use them every day as a pro triathlete to flush my legs and get ready for the next day.


While we aren’t all pro’s, we can all certainly strive to rest and recover like one.  To get more training and racing tips, Follow Alicia on Instagram. Alicia and her husband, Jarrod are also featured in our latest “Tri Essentials” video, putting our products to good use!

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CX Fever #1 – Gluing Tubulars

Maghalie Rochette – CX Fever Racing p/b Specialized

We’re thrilled to announce our support for an athlete we’ve already been working with for a few years–Maghalie Rochette. Maghalie is amicably leaving the CLIF Pro Team to start her own cyclocross program. Why? She’s got the fever. The fever for cyclocross. 

She’ll be racing cyclocross in North America until November then Europe for 3 months to finish the season strong. Maghalie’s partner David will be the mechanic. Or as she puts it, “The mechanic and the ‘doer of everything’, like he always does… I’ll do my best to help him. At the races, you will be able to find David and I under a Specialized tent that we will be sharing with the TSH/Specialized Team crew.”

You’ll see the tent decked out with Feedback Sports products. Feel free to ask Maghalie and David about them. Get your hands on the tools. Check out our trainers and rollers. They are happy to give you the low-down on what makes our products part of their “Race Day Essentials” as well as some pro-tips on bike racing and wrenching!

And speaking of…check out David’s tried and true 8 step method of gluing tubulars. 

Gluing tubulars

Every year, it’s a long process we have to start over. Here is the step by step method that David uses to ensure our tubulars are always properly glued.

  1. Pump the tubular. Apply a layer of glue on the tubular and a layer on the rim of the wheel. Hang and let dry for 24h.
  2. The next day, apply another layer of glue on the rim. Let dry a few hours.
  3. Put some double sided glue tape on the rim. Remove the paper from the tape.
  4. Apply a second layer of glue on the tubular tire and a layer of glue over the tape.
  5. Right away, deflate the tubular. Verify the direction of the thread and carefully install the tubular on the wheel.
  6. Pump the tire and adjust the position of the tire on the wheel to make sure it is straight.
  7. Let dry for at least 24h before using.
  8. You are ready to shred!!!

**Pro tip: A few days before you start this process, it helps to stretch the tubular. You can either set it on a dry wheel for a few days, or simply stretch it with your hand.

Maghalie is in good hands with some other stellar companies.  SpecializedCLIF BarRovalSRAMTenSpeed HeroOakleyChallenge TiresGiro Cyclingand Horst Engineering are supporting Maghalie, too. We’re all going to be working together throughout the season to spread the CX Fever!

You can check out her preliminary schedule for the 2018/19 season here. Go get em’, Maghalie!

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Enter our “Wherever You May Roam” Contest!

Upload a pic of you maintaining your ride in the wild, follow us on IG and you’ll be entered to win a Feedback Sports Ultralight work stand and a Ride Prep Tool Kit! The photo with the most votes wins!

  • You can share your entry with friends to gain votes! 
  • Contest ends Sunday, June 24th at 11:59 MST. 
  • Winner will be announced June 25th! 
  • CLICK HERE TO ENTER!