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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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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.

IMG_4104

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

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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!