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.
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).
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.
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.