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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. 

 

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