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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. 

 

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Summertime with Feedback Sports

It’s SUMMER!!  We think we can count on warm temps and snow-free trails in Colorado (knock on wood). At least for the next 6-8 weeks.  And we’ll take it, because that means RIDING BIKES! We all know that when the temperatures of soar, so does the motivation to ride and race. Feedback Sports offers the perfect variety of products to help you get ready for everything Summer has to throw at you on the bike!

summertime boy on bike
Ahhhhh.  We love you, Summer.

You may be of the…hardier stock and have been riding your bike all winter long, or perhaps you’ve been hibernating.  Either way, our wash and work stands are the perfect addition to any cyclist’s workshop. We proudly support four World Tour cycling teams;  Tinkoff, Trek SegafredoLotto Soudal, and IAM Cycling.  When it comes to prepping the fastest teams in the world, the stand of choice in the pits happens to be our Sprint stand. It’s sturdy and fast (plus it folds up small–which helps save space in the team bus). Check out our full selection of stands and find the right one for you!

And speaking of race-prep… the Omnium has been winning over racers across every discipline of cycling (except perhaps E-bikes). This fork mount portable trainer means no more messing with the back wheel before a race.  It also offers internal progressive resistance (while still weighing under 14 pounds) and folds down small into it’s own tote-bag. From pro-triathletes (Gwen Jorgensen, Tyler Butterfield, Lauren Barnett, etc) to pro DH racers (Riding Addiction, Yeti/Fox) to our pro road friends at Drapac…the Omnium is taking the racing scene by storm.  Check it out and see what it can do for your training and racing this summer!

And last, but certainly not least: let’s talk about all the wonderful summertime cycling events.  What are your favorites?  Cruiser rides? Benefit rides? Bike to Work Day? Triathlons? MTB races? BMX? Well, guess what? We happen to love all of these!! Check out our event calendar and you might just see us and/or our gray tent in your neck of the woods…or out on the trails.
summer kick off collage Foothills

 

 

 

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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.