Posted on 2 Comments

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.

Posted on 1 Comment

Race-Day Warm-up with Amanda Nauman

cyclists ride stationary trainer

Though we all know that warm-legs are fast legs… it’s can be hard to know where to begin. You might wonder, “Should I use a bike trainer or rollers?” How hard should I go before a race?”, “For how long?”, “Should I do intervals?”, “Why is my skinsuit so tight?”, “Is my number pinned properly?”.  While we can’t really help you with the last two questions, we did find some experts to share what works for them in terms of the first four.

We asked our friends, David Sheek (Carmichael Training Systems Coach) and Amanda Nauman (known to friends and the cycling community as “Amanda Panda”) of Team SDG – Muscle Monster for some general preparation tips and a warm-up plan to help anyone maximize their race-day potential.

——————

~From Amanda and Dave~

Our friends at Feedback Sports have really stepped up the game with a solid range of traveling goodies that are also amazing products to have in any garage. Whether traveling to Europe or chasing events around the United States, Feedback has made it easier to be prepared at home and on the road. A few of our favorites are the Team Edition Tool Kit, Omnium Portable Trainer, and Sprint Work Stand which all fit into the bottom of our cases for travel.

Being Prepared: Pre-Event Warm-up

A pre-event warm-up is designed to increase muscle core temperature, start the body’s cooling processes, and activate energy systems. Here’s a step-by-step guide to activating your body for a great performance using the Feedback Sports Omnium Portable Trainer.

Warm-up

It’s pretty common for a warm-up routine to be 45-60 minutes. You need to spend some time at lactate threshold and throw in a few high-intensity efforts to activate the processes related to producing and processing lactate, but you want to do as little as possible to achieve those goals. A generic warm-up includes 15-25 minutes of spinning, 5-10 minutes at LT, and two 1-2 minute VO2 max efforts. Variations of that will typically get the job done. A long warm-up is likely to generate more heat so weather and other variables are taken into consideration.

The nature of your event also plays a role in your warm-up. If your event is going to start out relatively slow, like a road race, then you can minimize the warm-up activities. If the event is going to start hard, like a cyclocross race, then it’s important to activate your energy systems and lactate processing systems.

Variations on the Weather

There is a fine line between activating your body for a great performance and hurting your performance through overheating in your warm-up. After warming up some higher energy systems, your muscle temperature and core temperature are elevated and primed to race. In warmer temperatures it is recommended to cool down for about 10 minutes before going to the start line to avoid any chances of overheating. In cooler temperatures it is recommended to add clothing layers and maintain that elevated core temperature en route to the start line.

Go to the Start Line

If you’re going to be standing on the start line for a long time before you start, as is often the case with cyclocross races, you’re going to be standing still. In this scenario, try to go to the line wearing enough clothing or layers to stay warm. Plan to hand your clothing off to someone with a few minutes to the whistle.

The focus on staying warm during and after a riders’ warm-up routine pays off because you will be ready for action right from the start. Keeping your core temperature at an optimal level enables you to start faster, get to the front of the race, and stay there.

Taking the proper steps to activate all your energy systems through a proper warm-up, all starts with the right trainer routine. It’s difficult to find an event that allows for sufficient open road to correctly hit the warm-up zones that your preparation requires. Traveling with the Feedback Sports Omnium Over-Drive guarantees the freedom to create and execute a routine around an ideal warm-up that will set you up physically and mentally for success.

TimeCTS ZoneRating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) 10-Point Scale
10 minEndurance Miles (EM)4-5
2 minTempo6
2 minEM4-5
2 minTempo6
2 minEM4-5
2 minSteady State (SS)7-8
2 minEM4-5
2 minSS7-8
2 minEM4-5
1 minClimbing Repeat (CR)8
2 minEM4-5
30 secPower Interval (PI)9
2 minEM4-5
30 secPI9
5-10minEM4-5
Off Trainer – Head to Startline
10 min Active Cooling2-4

*Amanda is currently rocking the cyclocross and gravel scene. She and David clearly know a thing or two about race-day preparation. Thanks for the tips, David and Amanda!  We’ll see you (and your Feedback Sports Race Day Essentials) at the Cyclocross Nationals in Kentucky! #pandapower

Posted on Leave a comment

Recover Like a Pro – Alicia Kaye

woman sitting on ground

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!

Posted on Leave a comment

CX Fever #1 – Gluing Tubulars

man applying glue to tubular tire

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!

Posted on Leave a comment

Enter our “Wherever You May Roam” Contest!

ad for "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! 

Posted on Leave a comment

Training Tuesday: Avoiding Common Mistakes in Your Indoor and Outdoor Preseason Riding

cyclist riding omnium portable trainer
~Originally posted Feb 6th, 2018 – via Cyclocross Magazine / Chris Mayhew 
—————————————

Hopefully you’ve taken some time off since your last race, be that Nationals or the last race of your local series. If you’ve been really good, you’ve actually found another activity to occupy your time. At some point you’ll be drawn back to riding bikes, hopefully because they’re fun for you and because you enjoy riding and the process of training. I have been counseling clients about some common mistakes to avoid, and I am working on not repeating some myself. Let’s see if we can shorten your learning curve a bit with this article.

Moderate Your Indoor Training

First, whatever you are doing, do it in moderation. You’ve probably been off the bike for a while and you may be doing other activities like strength and mobility training. Don’t go from two weeks of relative inactivity to ten plus hours of on and off-bike work. You’ll be fresh and motivated enough that you won’t feel the effects of such a steep ramp up immediately. But eventually it will catch up with you, often in terms of an overuse injury like IT band issues or a strained back.

Ease into whatever you are doing and start with very modest goals. For the first few weeks back, I just like client to “check the box” X number of days per week. Be that cycling, yoga, weights, whatever, just be active for an hour a day for X days a week, say three to five. From there figure out a modest, sustainable increase in that activity level and stick to the program.

Weight lifting for cyclocross offseason, cyclists.
photo: Barbell by Mark_K_ on flickr.

Whatever offseason work you are doing, Coach Mayhew recommends an hour a day, three to five times a week.

Next, there are the particulars of indoor and outdoor riding. If you are riding indoors, I have three recommendations for you. One is, again, to limit what you’re doing. If you’re on rollers (which are great!) or a non-Zwift connected trainer, you’re burning mental matches every time you get on. Keep that to a minimum; you’ve got many months to get in shape.

My general recommendation is no more than three times per week, no more than an hour at a time. If you’re on a Zwift-compatible trainer, training is less of a drag and I’d say three to four times per week. But there I would caution you against always racing. There’s a lot to be said for diminished intensity right now and not always going to the well with fight or flight.

Our tester putting down the watts in testing the Feedback Sports' Omnium Trainer. © Cyclocross Magazine
© Cyclocross Magazine

Trainer workouts are good, but don’t overdo it and tax yourself mentally.

Whatever you’re doing indoors, GET A FAN. Clients of mine are probably chuckling at this point as I am constantly banging the drum on this. For every one watt of power you are generating, you are dumping three as waste heat. So even at 100 watts, which is a very easy pace for almost anyone, you’re generating 300 as heat. That blotchy skin you get is blood pooling below the skin in an attempt to cool you. That blood should be going to working muscles, but it’s not.

In addition, you’re sweating buckets to cool but there’s no air moving over you to carry the heat away. What happens without a fan is that the same effort feels harder and harder when it’s actually not and your ability to produce power diminishes. Get the biggest fan you can blowing directly on your core. This is another reason to limit indoor workouts. Those fans can only do so much, and it’s a losing battle. Hours and hours on a trainer mean more compromised cooling.

*Click here for the rest of the article (and you’re going to want to read the rest).
Massive thanks to Coach Chris Mayhew and @cxmagazine.com! 

Posted on Leave a comment

Inside the Mind of a Bike Geek at the Colorado Classic

Colorado Classic Bike Race from a Feedback Sports bike racer.

Here in Colorado we have a rich history of professional bike racing. Our altitude and challenging hills (mountains, really) have been luring cyclists for years.  Those seeking pain and glory got plenty of both at the Red Zinger Bicycle Classic (1975-79). This morphed into the Coors Classic (1980-1988). If you were living in Colorado during that time, it was an annual party (picture that scene in American Flyers–it was filmed in 1984, just weeks after the Coors Classic finished, on parts of the same race course).

But then the racing stopped. Colorado fell into a pro-racing withdrawal for years. Like the fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty,” all the pro racing villagers seemed to fall asleep. Thorns and bushes grew over our hills until our cities (and eventually our state) practically forgot pro bike racing ever existed here. Okay, okay, this is an exaggeration.  The local bike racing scene and the cycling lifestyle boomed in Colorado with during this gap. And our roads are mostly thorn-free except for that one section of HWY 93 that’s full of glass. 

Regardless, the USA Pro Challenge came along in 2011, slashing through the thorny vines and waking everyone up!  We had 4 glorious summers of tour busses filled with very skinny/fast people and hordes of bikes streaming through our cities. Bells were rung, flowers bloomed, mountains called, the crowds came out. But apparently someone pricked his or her finger on a spinning wheel and put us all to sleep again at the end of 2015. We’re guessing it was that shirtless bozo drunkenly running (er…trotting) up Lookout Mountain.  The race would not return in 2016. More darkness. More sadness. Much snoring.

Snoring…until this SUMMER — the summer of the inaugural Colorado Classic Bike Race!! And yippee!! Pro bike racing is BACK to Colorado!

Read on for a recap of the Colorado Classic through the eyes of one of our local Feedback Sports racers, Dan Wyszynski. Dan fits in well with our team as he’s a self-proclaimed bike geek. We ran into him at the final stage (in downtown Denver). As Dan started showing us his pictures and video from the previous stages we knew his story would make a fun post.  We hope you enjoy taking a tour…inside the mind of a bike geek at the Colorado Classic.


History

In May of 2000, I decided to leave the suburbs of Chicago and my family to ride and race my bikes in the mountains.  And 17 years later, I am still in Colorado.  Riding and racing bikes.  I participate mostly in mountain bikes and cyclocross for Feedback Sports Race Team as a category 2 in both disciplines.

A slightly muddy Dan (far left).

These experiences fed into my bike geekiness.  Imagine going to a stage race with the top pros in the world, as a spectator.  Yes, I am one of those crazed fans who runs alongside the top racers on the planet.  It started with the Tour of California several years ago, US Pro Cycling Challenge-Colorado, Leadville 100 mtb, various MTB and CX UCI level events, and this year’s inaugural Colorado Cycling Classic.

Stages 2 & 4

I drove up to Breckenridge Thursday night, and slept in the woods to catch Stage 2 in and around the town. At the beginning, I stood at the start line for the call-ups.  2017 Tour de France 2nd place overall rider Rigoberto Uran was within an arm’s reach.  Local Pro Tour guys, Alex Howes, Taylor Phinney, Danny Pate, and Gregory Daniel were all on the front line.

I stayed there for a couple laps, then I decided to make my way to the wicked climb/KOM at Moonstone Road (a 8.3%-10.8% grade).  Being at this point in the course was a dream come true.  Picture hundreds of people, in costumes, (some barely clothed), bubble machines, and a party bus equipped with a second story dance floor along with a DJ scratching records.  And then add LOTS OF BEER!!!!!

I also went to the final stage 4 in and around the city of Denver.  HOT HOT HOT!  It was a relief when the storm clouds rolled in.  Just as the riders crossed the line, rain, lightning and the winds came. This just added to an epic finish in the middle of the city.

Best Interactions w/the Racers

I had a great time yelling, screaming, and heckling Alex Howes and Gregory Daniel to keep on drilling it.  Both of whom had big smiles every time they passed me (maybe it was a grimace, who knows!).

But the best and most amazing performance was TJ Eisenhart of the Holowesko/Citadel Team.  From the start of the race he takes a flyer off the front.  He held the lead for 60+ miles-SOLO.  However, with a couple miles-final lap to go he was caught by Alex Howes and Peter Stetina and Alex won the stage with a wicked sprint finish.

Dan and TJ.

Craziest Thing Seen

It is nearly impossible to pick one thing.  Moonstone Rd was the perfect spot for all of the craziness.  My top two are:  The guy with a monkey hand puppet, head banging and dancing to Metallica’s Seek and Destroy.  And second would be the guy who wheelied up the steepest part of the KOM climb-about 50-60 yards (Peter Sagan style).

Hope  

The younger generation of riders is the hope for the sport.  Some of them are under 20 years of age.  Lots of them are 20-23 years old.  Also, the Colorado Classic is the first of its kind where the race as a whole is different.  More of a festival type of atmosphere.  One example was the concerts, food trucks, and vendors in the expo area of the final stage.

The course profiles are also different.  Total mileage per stage is much less than what it was before.  Short distances, hilly parts and super-fast speeds.  This new aspect of the sport was clearly obvious and super exciting for Stage 2 in Breckenridge.  You could feel the energy of the fans, the racers and the announcers; all of whom gave this race five stars all the way around.


*Only time will tell if Colorado’s pro cycling racing kingdom will stay awake and alert for the coming years. But for now, we’ll take the five stars…and the two T-Rex.  

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Love, Sweat and Gears…and a Gold A-Frame – RAAM 2017

Race Across America (RAAM)
One of our favorite things is when different facets of our cycling worlds collide. This happened a few weeks ago when one of our local Feedback Sports racers, (and all around cycling do-gooder) Paul Majors was lead mechanic for the Love, Sweat and Gears RAAM team. As an official sponsor of RAAM, this local connection was dream come true. If you’re not familiar with RAAM (Race Across America), here you go… 

Race Across America (RAAM) is one of the most respected and longest running ultra-endurance events in the world. RAAM is seen as a pinnacle of athletic achievement not only in cycling circles but the greater sporting community as well.

In 1982, four individuals raced from the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles to the Empire State Building in New York City. Covered by national television, the race captivated the public’s imagination. Relay Teams were introduced in 1992 and quickly became the most popular and fastest growing segment of the race. Team sizes are 2, 4 and 8 persons. Relay Team racing made the event accessible to any fit cyclist.

There is no other race in the world like RAAM. There is no race that combines the distance, terrain and weather; no other event that tests a team’s spirit from beginning to end. The Race inspires everyone who has been a part of it – racer, crew, staff and fans alike. RAAM is the true test of speed, endurance, strength and camaraderie, the ideal combination of work and play.


Now back to Paul and the team. We happily outfitted team Love Sweet and Gears with A-frames, Pro-Elites and RAKK (plus a few sets of tools). Fully dialed with Paul (and under the direction of Team Captain, Chuck Magnus and Team Director, Jay Wuchner) these super-human athletes finished in 1st place for all 4 person teams (and even out-paced most of the 8 person teams). They put our gear through the wringer for a 3000+ mile adventure.  The team made the crossing in 6 days, 3 hours and 39 minutes – averaging 20.79 mph. We asked Paul a few questions regarding this phenomenal experience. After reading his answers, maybe you’ll be tempted to put RAAM on your bucket list as a racer or a mechanic! 
FBS: Tell us specifically how our products made a difference at this year’s race.
Paul: First off, all of the other teams were in awe of our Feedback Sports set-up. We would pop out of our trailer, set up the A-Frame and start taking the bikes out. Each bike had it’s own safe place to land. The A-Frame was perfect–it sets up in less than 10 seconds and keeps the bikes safe and off the ground.  We also used an A-Frame in the back ofeach follow van for the same reason, as the bikes go in and out of the vans well over 350+ times.  It is so important to keep them safe and stable.  One of the best parts of the Pro-Elite work stand is its flexibility.  I could put any bike in it with so much speed and accuracy–regardless if it was some funny shaped TT bike or a road bike with an aerodynamic seat post.  The Pro-Elite just always worked perfectly and quickly.

 

FBS: What was the hardest part of RAAM from the standpoint of the mechanics?
Paul: Believe it or not, one of the hardest parts of RAAM is before the race even begins.  You have to get to inspection.  For the head mechanic, this is a nerve racking time.  There are so many rules and so much prep on the bikes to get ready for inspection.  But I was prepared.  We showed up and we set up two of the A-Frames. We placed 4 bikes on each A-Frame with it’s lights on and all shoes and helmets by each bike.  Everything was organized and laid out.  The extra wheels rested on the sides of the A Frame, out of their bags.  The inspector showed up with a hard no-nonsense expression.  She took one look at our layout and commented, “You guys look very organized.” Our inspection was over in less than 10 minutes.  Then the inspector took pictures of our setup to show other teams how it should be done. Thanks to Feedback for helping us with all parts of the RAAM!
FBS: What are some of the other challenges you faced?
Paul: One of the other fun parts of RAAM is what we call “the fire drill”.  Every 80 miles or so we change out racers.  One pair of riders finishes their pull and another pair starts.  With that we change out bikes as well.  All this happens in less than 30 seconds and the vans need to be ready to put back on the road with the new racers and no stopping in forward progress.  All of this has to happen in the dark in a new place every time.  We color coded our A-Frames and RAKK so that all team members knew (based on the color) what bike went where.  New bikes that were going into the follow van, were always on the gold A-Frame.  The new bike going into the shuttle van, was always on the yellow RAKK.  The next racers new bike, was always on the red RAKK.  and the bikes that are coming off the road were always placed on the black A Frame.  This helped eliminate the problem of the wrong bike ending up in the wrong place – and out of the 58 times that we performed the fire drill, we got it right EVERY time. 

So there you have it.  Perhaps the best example we could find, combing bike storage and maintenance to get a successful result…racing round the clock …for a week. Color us impressed, team Love, Sweat and Gears!! Congratulations to all involved and thanks for representing Feedback Sports products at RAAM 2017!
Posted on Leave a comment

Q&A with Slopestylist, DJ Brandt

Slopestyle rider DJ Brandt sits down for a Q&A with Feedback Sports
At only 23 years old, Colorado native, DJ Brandt has already ridden and raced all over the world.  His main discipline is Slopestyle (having loved it since day one) but he’s just as happy getting on the DH bike whether it be Freeride or race courses. He loves it all. DJ’s joy of riding seeps into a dare-devil skill-set most of us couldn’t dream of having.


In light of this, you can imagine how hard it could be to get him to slow down enough during racing season for an interview, but we did it!  Read our short and to the point Q&A below from DJ.


1. Give us a quick history of your riding/racing career. I started out BMX-ing at the skate park, tried a friend’s dirt jumper, then bought a dirt jumper. I rode my first Slopestyle event 6 months later and have been hooked on big air since!

2. What’s your favorite (or best) race? Colorado Freeride Festival.

3. What’s your least favorite (or worst) race? Fise Cheng du. For many reasons.

4. What’s the craziest trick you’ve pulled off? Double flip or something. (We feel this answer was down-played due to DJ’s natural affable, humble nature). 

5. What’s been the craziest race scenario you’ve ever witnessed? Racing through a city in the middle of Mexico with 50k fans screaming and cheering. You look around and think, “Who is here? It must be someone big. Then you realize they are all there to watch the race and cheer for you.”

Photo: Nicolas Switalski/Altius

6. Do you have any advice to a younger, less experienced rider? Do what you like if you want to be happy. Don’t do something just because you think other people want to see it.

7. What’s coming in 2017? This season will consist of more Slope events, DH races and Freeride events across the globe.

8. Finally, what’s your favorite Feedback Sports product?  The Scorpion stand is pretty sweet but then again, so is everything else they make.  (Aw, shucks. He made us blush.  Truth be told, Feedback Sports is happy to provide DJ with the products he needs to keep his bikes dialed.

*You can follow his gasp-inducing fun on social media: IG /@djshreda, Twitter /@djshreda, FB /@deejboyy .

Posted on Leave a comment

Buying a Bike is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

bike stands and other products can bring you business for years to come

~From Sports Insight Magazine 

Mark Downie, Senior Brand Manager at 2Pure (our UK distributor), looks at the way the cycling market has changed and expanded…and gives tips for shops and dealers on what ELSE a customer needs after they bike the bike.  Because “it’s not just about owning a bike anymore – there is so much else that goes with it.”  Carefully chosen products of quality can make a big difference in your shop, and in turn to your customers.  This will ensure they’ll keep coming back to your shop for years to come!

How has this market grown over the years? That is an interesting question and one that needs some qualification. Certainly, bike sales have been in decline but parts and accessories have remained near static but there has been an increase in the number of brands and products available, especially on a brand direct basis.

From my experience, even when bike sales are in decline, dedicated users will still be enthusiastic about upgrading kit and clothing and the real opportunities are in that area for sure. Sensible shops and dealers will be looking for ways to attract customers and make sales without tying up cash in bikes so the P&A market should always be relatively buoyant. It needs to be borne in mind though that unless we can introduce a new customer to cycling at a lifestyle level more regularly then we will suffer from the introspection of sales to existing participants and not actually grow in real terms.

This is where the government and other bodies need to do more to emphasise the importance of cycling to the economy and health in order to encourage more people to engage with cycling and become valuable consumers for both bike and accessory sales. The pure sports category needs to be enhanced by lifestyle and transport categories for real growth to occur long term.

Innovations in bike stands rather than just leaning your bike up in the hall or against the wall in a garage–how have they changed? This a particular area of interest for us as we distribute Feedback Sports here in the UK, who you could argue offer the most complete range of bike stands and bike support on the market. There are so many ways to store a bike now and it gives the bike user flexibility to fit into their lifestyle and living arrangements.

We still see the majority of our storage sales to the trade for trade use, for example the Rakk from Feedback Sports is the accepted number one solution for bike display in stores. On the home side we have seen massive success of the Velo Wall Rack 2D and the Velo Hinge -they are inexpensive highly functional and demonstrate fantastic longevity. Whilst there may be other products with a higher aesthetic value available, it is rare they also possess sound design and engineering features. The range offered by Feedback is deep and not too wide – this is intentional and due to the focus on engineering a quality and relevant product for the market and to offer the dealer some stability on range selection and in store offering.

How much thought and science goes into the design of these new products? Knowing the team at Feedback Sports and the relentless focus they have on engineering, I can attest to the thought and design present in all products they develop. This has been reflected by the endorsement of so many pro team mechanics in cycling sport and the fact that so many working mechanics and stores buy Feedback Sports for personal use.

They specialize in designing products that are ‘real world’ and will stand up to long term use. Testament to this is our rate of return which is virtually zero – all items are designed to be easy to repair over their lifespans meaning that in normal use, a Feedback product will work almost indefinitely.

Also the rise in nutrition and energy to fuel cyclists – how is this reflected in the marketplace?
Cyclists have an obsession with food – after all what other sport can claim to be so cake centric! Jokes aside, we live in an age where consumers have more information and science on nutrition than ever before and more options than we really need but we still have climbing rates of obesity and diabetes present in our population so something isn’t working and it’s probably education. The sports cyclist can be broken into two main types in my eyes when it comes to sports nutrition, firstly the ‘normal food’ rider and secondly the ‘fuel’ rider.

The former will aim to fuel him/herself with up to date and new products that are well marketed and have a story and crucially taste good! Usually these will be organic or with a provenance or message they can mirror from their normal diet and eating habits.
They probably read into brand stories and ingredients lists fairly deeply and go for products that you could make in the kitchen except it’s easier to buy made and packaged in the right format for the bike. The latter consumer will be more focused in how to fuel and be way more numbers oriented and not as taste led. They may be more accepting of products that are more synthetic in appearance or manufacture and have some form of pro endorsement. Put simply, they want to know how many calories, how quickly it will work and if it is priced well – they usually consume a large volume in a year.

We offer Honey Stinger to the market which offers great taste and the energy source of honey in formats that cyclists accept such as gels, bars and chews. We feel the brand appeals to the former customer mentioned above.

There are also products designed to take some of the irritation of a long ride away. Vaseline isn’t the only product on the market to make the ride smoother. How are these products brought to the market? Ah yes… one of the least romantic products we offer but one of the most valuable and demanded. Chamois Butt’r is a product many riders can’t be without! We have just spent some time conducting a product composition analysis and reformulation with the guys at Chamois Butt’r to improve and confirm we are 100 per cent euro compliant for all the ingredients contained in the product and we are happy to say we are. As part of this process we were also accepted by the European Cosmetics Portal as a legitimate and safe product for consumers to buy with confidence. We feel, like with nutrition products, that the consumer really values provenance and is given confidence to buy when they can be assured of the supply chain and consideration given to them as users.

What do you look for in a new product? You have to ask yourself, does a product offer a consumer genuine value for money and crucially, would we spend our money on it at retail. This rarely fails to weed out the bad products from the good but there are other parameters to consider such as ‘who is behind the brand’, ‘what is the product roadmap’ etc. But put simply it always comes back to whether or not a product enhances a user experience or adds genuine value.

*For more stellar bike (and beer pics) you can follow Mark on Instagram.