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Tour de France 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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See? Told you. Fast and efficient.

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

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

 

Continue reading Tour de France 2016

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Sea Otter Recap 2016

Tuck this lil’ buddy away until next year, because Sea Otter 2016 is a wrap!!

This cute lil' guy.eric in tent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, the van is unloaded (and dust-free, thanks to our tech-specialist, Eric Hockman), with everything is back in it’s place.  Ahhhhhhh.  Nothing like that feeling you get as a collective company when you look back on an event like Sea Otter and know it’s been your best one so far.

Upon getting back to Colorado, many people who’ve never attended Sea Otter ask what it’s like.  The usual reply that you’ll get from any company that HAS been there is this: “It’s so much better than Interbike.”  Don’t get us wrong.  Interbike is great for many reasons.

But Sea Otter is:

  • Not Vegas. And it’s outside. Enough said.
  • Surrounded by every type of bike racing you could imagine.
  • A chance to catch up with industry friends and cycling folks from all over the place.
  • In California, where it’s 80 degrees vs. Colorado where last week here it was like this:

spring blizzard

 

But all those points aside, here are a few notable high-lights from the Feedback Sports side of things:

 

  1. The Bicycle Leadership Conference Feedback Sports’ founder/President, Doug Hudson has been attending the BLC for the last 5 years.  In a our weekly company meeting Doug explained the significance of this annual event. “The BLC continues to be one on my favorite industry events of the year.  The keynote speakers, learning sessions and networking are invaluable.  The morning rides along the coast are incredible.  The networking started as soon as I landed in Monterey when I was able to share an Uber ride with former pro racer Tim Johnson who was also on his way to the conference.   I leave the BLC each year with new ideas and inspiration to make Feedback Sports better than ever.”
  2. We unleashed the Feedback Sports Scorpion–our newly acquired product.  This was a huge hit among consumers, media and dealers alike.
  3. The Omnium made it’s Sea Otter debut as well.  It was so fun to talk with the general public and watch their eyes light up when they realize just how bitty and light-weight the Omnium can be.
  4. Primal Wear’s Women’s Mtb Clinic: Saturday morning, Lisa and I got the privilege of demo-ing two Yeti’s from our Colorado neighbors (literally, Yeti Cycles is about 500 yards away from the Feedback Sports headquarters) and take to the trails with some very rad women. Breakfast and coffee, first of course. PLUS a question/answer session with Sonya Looney, Karen Jarchow, Feedback Sports’ own racer, Caitlyn Vestal and Kasey Clark.  More sightings of strong women who crush it on and off the bike abounded throughout Saturday into the afternoon.  Team Luna Chix, Courtenay McFadden, the Stans NoTubes-Pivot women, the ladies from Raleigh Clement, the list went on and on.  #morewomenonbikes #heckyes
  5. NICA Omnium Raffle: Speaking of more people on bikes, let’s talk about NICA for a second.  The National Interscholastic Cycling Association is a mighty, happy force. Their mission is to develop interscholastic mountain biking coast-to-coast by 2020.  YES, PLEASE!!! We love being a sponsor and want to do everything we can to get more kids on bikes and spread the NICA word.  Saturday we were able to do just this and raffle off an Omnium to one very excited young man.  Check NICA out and see how YOU can help them reach their goal as well.

And on top of that, there was riding, camping, racing, laughing and maybe an escaped Octopus incident.  Still not sure on that last one.

So a huge THANK YOU to those of you who stopped by and said hello, those who offered us their hospitality (MTBR) and kindness and of course to our dealers and customers. It truly made this the best Sea Otter so far!!

mtbr party

*For our full facebook photo gallery, CLICK HERE!

For additional gorgeous images (courtesy, Eric Hockman) CLICK HERE! 

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Feedback Sports Acquires Scorpion

PRESS RELEASE  scorpion_web
Feedback Sports LLC acquires
Scorpion Bike Stands LLC
April 12th, 2016

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Feedback Sports has acquired Scorpion Bike Stands LLC (Dana Point, CA). The deal includes patents and trademarks associated with the Scorpion bicycle stand developed by Scorpion founder Mike Diorio.

Ryan Hagy and Mike Diorio started Scorpion Bike Stands in 2013 and have grown the business each year. “We really wanted to see the product we created taken to the next level and we feel Feedback Sports is the company to do it,” said Diorio. He jokingly added, “I’ll be happy to stop bending and welding tubes in the near future.”

Feedback Sports’ founder Doug Hudson said, “We liked the Scorpion Stand the first time we saw it at Sea Otter 2014. When Ryan and Mike approached us about a potential deal, we were very interested. It’s a natural complement to our product family.” Feedback is now taking dealer orders for the Scorpion products and will start shipping within the next two weeks. Click here for more info. on these products. During the next few months, the Scorpion website will still be functional, but all orders and inquiries will come directly to Feedback Sports.

*Please send any sales/order inquiries to [email protected]. 

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Spring Bike Maintenance Made Easy

Whether you’re a fair-weather rider who’s bike has been hibernating all winter, or a winter-riding die-hard, now is the time to inspect your bike and give it a little TLC.  Feedback Sports has some user-friendly tips to help!

bear hibernating   dino snowy bike

Start with a full-bike inspection. In order to do this, it’s obviously best if the bike is clean (insert groan here).  We know, we know.  Cleaning your bike is not always at the top of everyone’s list of fun ways to pass the time, but in the end, you and your bike will appreciate it!!  A clean bike is a happy bike. And happy bikes are fast, reliable bikes.

Follow the 5 steps below and you can’t go wrong.

  1.  Give your bike a nice bath.  Not sure how best to do this?  Check out this video from our friends at wearebutter.com.  
  2.  Remember, if you de-grease components, you must re-grease them.Not sure which type of lube is best or how to apply it?  Ask your local bike shop!  That’s what they are for–to help you help yourself. Don’t be embarrassed. There are no stupid questions if it’s the right type of shop.
  3.  While your bike is still clean, don’t forget to inspect your components for wear to prevent further damage. Tire tread, chain wear, worn cables, and brake pads all need to be checked/maintained. If you HAVE been sticking it out this winter, remember that snow, rain, road grit and de-icer are all things that expedite wear and tear on your bike and components.
  4.  If applicable, check your sealant! Most sealants have a time-period (climate dependent) that they will last in your tire. It may be time to add more.
  5.  If there’s an issue that comes up during this inspection and you don’t know how to fix it…(guess. C’mon, guess).  That’s RIGHT!!  ASK YOUR LOCAL BIKE SHOP!! They will be happy to help and might even offer maintenance clinics so you can feel more confident maintaining your bike in the future.

And that’s pretty much it. Follow those 5 steps and you too can be standing there, admiring your clean, fast, SAFE bike. You’ll show up to that next group ride guilt-free and all smug-like when you look around and see all those other filthy, sad bikes.  Feels good, right?  Sure it does.

smug
*Pro Tip #1:  If you have one of our wash and work stands, everything above is infinitely easier than say…leaning your bike against your car or a tree. Some might ask: “Why do I even need a work stand when I just ask my significant other or one of my kids to hold it for me?”  Answer: because this is a ridiculous use of that person’s time and in the end ruins the love of cycling for everyone. Don’t do it.  

PAC_1807

*Pro Tip #2: We also offer a FREE Bike Maintenance app to help you keep track of everything above.  It can be hard to remember when you last replaced a chain or refreshed your sealant.  Our app does this FOR you. IOS and Android-friendly!!

feedback-app-icon

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Around the World with Feedback Sports

Maybe it’s the size of our company (11 employees), or the small-town vibe that we embody by living and working in Golden, CO. Regardless of the reason, many people are surprised to find that Feedback Sports has the world-wide reach that we do.  

The company may have started in Doug and Lisa Hudson’s basement, but Feedback Sports products are now available in over 40 countries. You can find our signature red anodized items from Australia to Venezuela.

 

Ford Isbey, our International Sales Manager recently went on a 10 day trip to Asia to visit dealers and distributors in the Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong and Korea. A quick introductory word about Ford. He has an incredibly friendly and genuine nature.  He could befriend an abandoned, rusty old car and what’s more, he’d undoubtedly have a few fun and wacky adventures with that car before the day was over.  Ford looks forward to such trips not only to talk shop, but to reconnect with his friends/business associates–many of which, got their first peek of our newest product, The Omnium.
ford with catalog    viewing omnium  
For Cx racers like the Feedback Sports crew,  it’s easy to categorize the Omnium as a “race warm-up tool”.  But as Ford’s travels progressed it quickly became evident to all of us that the Omnium takes the “KOM” for trainers in general. Whether it’s for racking up the base-miles, bike fits or (yes) warming up at a race, our international dealers, distributors and customers want it. Click here for more pics resulting from this trip.
omniums at show

Needless to say, Ford is…pretty busy.

When giving a recap of his trip (and it’s carry-over product buzz) at our weekly company meeting, Ford said in his jovial North Carolina accent, “Bud, lemme’ tell ya. Orders have been flyyyyyin’ in faster than I used to shuck corn as a kid.” Okay, okay, full disclosure: it may not have been that exact quote, but it was something like that and Ford is on Thanksgiving vacation already, so we’ll stick with that. 

In closing, be patient.  Availability for the Omnium is getting close, both domestically and internationally.  Or as Ford might say, “It’ll be here sooner than the leafers on the Blue Ridge Parkway”.*

ford at show     omnium in sk

*Unless you are also from North Carolina, you may need to click here for the translation of that phrase.

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Feedback Sports Field Tests the Omnium

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

van sky end of race

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

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

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

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

Tim and Everett

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

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

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

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

caitlyn racing

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

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

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

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

caitlyn warming up caitlyn flowers

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

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

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

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

Tim Omnium podium

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

 

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Richmond Worlds 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Libby Hill Cobbles
The infamous “Libby Hill Cobbles”.

 

Speaking of those sections…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Copper Triangle

Our latest blog was written by our Eastern Sales Manager, Sammy Rutherford.  Sammy recently represented Feedback Sports at the 10th Annual Copper Triangle.  Read below to find out why so many riders make this an annual summer cycling tradition–including the gentleman who won our Classic Work Stand in the raffle who came from St. Louis, MO!
This year Rocky Mountain Events organizers Scott Harris & Scott Olmstead celebrated their 10th anniversary of the Copper Triangle. I’ve had the privilege of representing Feedback Sports by working this fun expo and riding the spectacular course the last six years in a row!! This is hands down one of the prettiest summer cycling routes through the Colorado mountains put on by a top notch crew. Events like these really allow our products to shine.  You’ll see our products in use all over; from the Pro Elite work/wash stands at the aid stations to our A-frames offering easy bike parking all throughout the expo.  There’s a reason this event runs silky smooth from start to finish.

Over the years, our partnership has only deepened as this event has flourished. Having great, local partners there (such as Colorado Cyclist) as well as supporting worthy causes like The Davis Phinney Foundation are both huge parts of what FBS is proud to represent…the true spirit of cycling at all levels and at its best!!

One of my favorite aspects of this event are simply the people.  I can always count on seeing and catching up with great friends–seeing how their summer is going. Plus there is the added bonus of getting to ride alongside high caliber athletes like Bob Roll, Dave Wiens, and Chris Carmichael to name a few…you just never know who’s gonna show up!!

If you haven’t done the Copper Triangle, make sure you put it on your list!! You won’t be disappointed.