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Unsung Heroes of the Tour: Part 1

During the Tour de France, it can be easy to focus on the racers.  Admittedly we’re guilty of it too! They’re fast, flashy and dedicated! They exhibit skills mere mortals only dream of.  But there’s a group that often gets overlooked, that one could argue have the same qualities as the racers–the mechanics.  Without this support crew working tirelessly behind the scenes, the show (as they say) could not go on.  Over the next few weeks we’ll be focusing on these mighty, (yet often silent) Tour de France giants.  So hop in the team car and join us for the ride!

Unsung Heroes of the Tour Part 1:  

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Pascal Ridel / Tinkoff Sport

Bio: Pascal has enriched team Tinkoff with his presence for some years. He came to Tinkoff after a period with Credit Agricole. Pascal has a reputation for doing things properly and he always makes sure that the team truck is fully stocked for every situation – a crucial consideration that has come in handy many times.

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*We’re betting that last part is probably simplifying things.  If you’ve watched a single stage…wait… even about a ten minute span of a single stage, you know that anything can happen. An experienced mechanic anticipates every possible scenario within a race.  Pascal and his crew are clearly dialed and they pass this gift off to the riders each and every day.

Like all the World Tour teams we partner with, we feel quite fortunate to work with Tinkoff Sport. We’re cheering loudly from Colorado–and wish the mechanics, the team directors and of course the riders the best of luck at this year’s Tour de France!!

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*Remember: check the #winwithtinkoff contest DAILY for your chance to win Feedback Sports products and more!  And you could be prepared for anything–just like Pascal. 

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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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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