Scattante Stories – Lee

We enjoyed reading Lee’s Scattante Story entry because of his commitment to riding and just for his ability to turn a good phrase.  Here’s a picture of Lee back in racing shape, tearing up his local crit, but read on below to learn about Club RAW and the cold winter rides that got him motivated to race once again:

Like many who have come to own a Scattante, my story began online as I tried to find a frame for less than it costs to stuff myself with Sushi and booze.

I was once a cyclist and a bicycle mechanic. But as I looked through craigslist, I was just someone years apart from any athletic accomplishment, looking for a way to get downtown without paying for parking or fighting the bus schedules.

A friend of mine from the college rowing team was the first I knew to own a Scattante. He liked the bike a lot. He was 6-foot-7 and it fit him and held up to all the thrashing – from the sprints between the boathouse to the engineering campus, to the bar scene of Madison, Wis.

His Scattante was black – all black, because he’d gotten some stripper from the boathouse to take off the decals and make it solid and maybe somewhat mysterious.

When I found my Scattante, a cyclocross frame, I kept the decals. “Scattante” was a mystery to me. People here in Wisconsin generally didn’t recognize the word as Italian. I didn’t recognize it as Italian; it’s not one of the words I came across while watching “Breaking Away” or reading “A Farewell to Arms.” And it had some of the same rhythm and feel to it as names around here: Pewaukee, Wauwatosa, Muskego.

My rides on it started in September a few years ago; I’d cover the three miles from my house to the Capitol Square twice each day. That seems like trivial distance to me now, but I recall feeling stronger as the days went on. I got fenders and put on a hat and gloves. My job required me to dress formally, so I typically rode this bike in worsted wool and leather soles.

In November, I had an idea with a friend who was also riding each day to the Square. We called it Club RAW – or Ride All Winter. I learned that studded tires help with ice and hard-pack, but things still got squirrely in the grey, tire-rutted stuff that I called churn. The Scattante cut through the nighttime snow that was fresh, bright and sharp and also bounded over the refrozen treads. I saw how a night I’d assumed to be cold and dark and dismal can be the opposite when passing through it on a bicycle.

After the lakes opened up and the bike was clean of all its briny grit and grime, I started to do longer tours. I raced the bike path hotshots when someone would throw down a sprint. I started to think about the last crit I raced, almost 10 years ago, where I was behind the leader on the final lap and struck my pedal to slide out in the second corner.

So I gave it a go. The Scattante that I rode under those glowing winter nights was the ticket that got me where I am now: riding strong again, racing, reaching for something.

And bicycle racing is the most exhilarating sport I’ve ever known. The feelings from it pour into my mind, unpredictably, in full clarity. All of a sudden, I’ll be back in a corner that turns into the blazing sun, up a climb when the burn doesn’t mean I’ll be dropped, under the spray of a water bottle, feeling the sting of salt.

Bicycling and racing is a permanent experience: I have all the corners, descents, breakaways and crashes here with me, and they got there because of a good deal on a Scattante.

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Scattante Stories – Gabriel

Gabriel’s story stuck with us, as we were reading Scattante Stories entries, because it was just such a straightforward and honest tale.  Gabriel wanted to recapture the fun and freedom he found while riding a bike as a kid, and his Scattante was a practical way to get back on the road.  But now we can safely say that he’s hooked on riding once again:

Last time I rode a bike was in middle school. My parents had more sense than money so I grew up on store brands while those around me rode top dollar “name brand” rigs. For me, it was about riding, not bragging about how much something cost. I cherished my bike and rode it everywhere. Several stolen bikes later, my parents got tired of replacing them and just like that, I could not ride anymore. By the time I was able to purchase my own bike, life had changed and I had no time to ride.

At age 38, being a father of 3 and riding a desk for the last 20 years I was overweight, out of shape and happy to be so. I always told myself I would be the dad that will run and play with my kids, not the one that sat on the bench and watched. I realized I had become the latter.

Remembering the good times I had as a kid on my bike, I decided to see if the love was still there. I shopped around at all the name brand stuff. Afterall, I am in a good career with a little disposable income. I deserved to get one of those fancy name brands now! After looking at dozens of bikes, my parents’ virtues kicked in and I was finding it hard to justify the cost of anything over the Scattante 660. It was outfitted well beyond comparably priced bikes and well into the higher priced rigs. It was also reasonably light and was simply a pleasure to behold with its pearly white paint, bold simple graphics and integration of carbon seat stays, fork and seatpost. I figured I could test the waters on this thing and if there was no spark, I wasn’t out gobs of money. I got the bike in April and by November I had put over 1,800 miles on it. I had forgotten how much I love riding! I started riding to work (30 miles round trip, rain or shine) and found routes that were relaxing, exhilerating, and challenging. I’ve explored rural areas I would have never seen otherwise. It was like I was a kid again and even the 30 square miles I ride have become a richer world to me.

Before I knew it I was 18 pounds lighter, my resting heart rate had gone from 68 to 51 BPM and my kids love having their dad playing with them now.

I ride my Scattante with pride knowing what it represents and what I have accomplished on it.

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Scattante Stories – Charlie

One more Stories fave.

An ode to his Scattante.

Read this from Charlie:

To love, Scattante

When my bicycle swears that she is made of carbon, I do believe her, though I know she lies.

That she might think me some novice cyclist, Unlearned in the sport’s false subtleties, Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young.

Although she knows my riding days are past the best, I simply credit her false speaking saddle.

On both pedals thus is simple truth supress’d, But wherefore says she not she is unjust?

And wherefore say not I that I am old?

Oh!, cycling’s best habit is in seeming trust, And age in cyclists not to have years told.

Therefore I hope to race with her and she with me, And with this Scattante, my kit complete’d be.

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Scattante Stories – Tim

Next up in our list of favorite entries from our Scattante Stories Giveaway is this little gem from Tim, where everything is not how it first appears (what can we say, we love hearing a good yarn):

The images are as vivid as the day it happened…I was astride my Scattante spinning the Dura Ace cranks at over a hundred RPM. The climb wasn’t new to me, but the feeling was. It was as if I was riding up one of those “Mystery Spot” tourist traps where water flows and balls roll up hill. I had never climbed or even seen anyone climb so effortlessly and quickly. But it was me and I was on a rocket to the top.

I saw him as I rounded the next curve; The athlete’s athlete. His physique looked like the muscle diagram posters I had studied on the gym walls. But I was rapidly gaining on him. The uber cyclist was moving with the same effortless flow that I felt, but he was riding a much more expensive steed, with parts that had not been in the stores yet.

Could it be? As I got closer I imagined passing him…Lance. To my amazement, I soon realized it was him, and I was about to blow his doors off!

I couldn’t do it. I paused on my pedals in mid stroke, slowing down to say, “Good morning!”

I surprised him so much that he swerved and almost rolled off the pavement.

“Woah,” Armstrong exclaimed. “I almost bought it.”

He gathered his wits and commented, “Great climb for such a flat state.”

“You bet,” I replied.

I then explained how the 1987 Pan Am games used this very climb for the road course. The fans here were asked not to push riders up the hill. They seemed to only be helping the American riders and the UCF officials thought that was unfair.

He chuckled and told me of how he planned this to be his last bike ride ever. I couldn’t understand why since I had watched him improve in the professional ranks and considered him to be the future of cycling in the USA.

Lance confessed that he had been pre-diagnosed with “Cancer of my boys,” as he put it. He was in Indianapolis seeking the best treatment possible.

His voice quivered when he spoke of the uncertainty he was facing. I pedaled alongside, all ears.

Soon we were near the top. I thought I would give a little challenge and started to hammer. I dropped him, probably because he didn’t expect it. I looked back and he was out of the saddle and hammering himself right behind me. I could hear him as he breathed down my jersey.

Finally the climb was over I turned ready to high-five the Texas star, but he was nowhere to be seen. I was left with my gloved hand hanging in thin air. I know he was right there, but suddenly vanished from the Hoosier Hill.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I laid my two-wheeler down and took a seat on a fallen log next to the road. I was suddenly out of breath myself as I struggled to make sense out of what just happened.

Drained physically and mentally, I collapsed on the leaves and pine needles. Laying there I kept replaying the scenario in my head. When did he leave, drop off or pass me? Or was he even actually there?

The next thing I know, my wife has her hand on my shoulder as she stirs me awake, “I thought you were going to ride your Scattante today, sleepyhead.”

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Scattante Stories – Aaron

Before we reveal the winning story in our Scattante Stories Giveaway, we wanted to share a few of the other stories that we thought were great.  It was a really hard task to pick a winner from all of the fantastic entries that were submitted, so we just have to share a few of the very best with all of you.  First up is Aaron, who wrote about that feeling of having a perfect day in the saddle:

The day started well before dawn. I drove into the elementary school parking lot greeted by volunteers holding flashlights waving me to my parking destination.

I could see the excitement in the faces of my fellow riders despite their bloodshot eyes. We walked into the school auditorium and had more volunteers pin our bibs to our jerseys. After eating my fill of muffins and bagels I took my bike to the starting line.

It’s best to ride with a group in these events. Not only do you have the opportunity make new friends, but you go a lot faster in a pace line. I found a group leaving at the same time as myself and tagged onto the rear of their line.

The route took us uphill almost immediately and I was please to see that my level of fitness would soon leave my pace group behind. After a few miles I had left them and found myself playing mind games as I struggled to catch another group that was some distance ahead of me. The weather started to change as we ventured toward the coast and I was grateful for my arm warmers.

I finally reached the group that was led by some skilled riders. I settled into the back of this line only to find about 5 rider just behind me that were unnoticed yet had the same intention of myself. I guess I had been leading a group for a short while and didn’t realize it.

Now I was in the middle of a large pace line and I suddenly remember why I love this sport so much. My cadence was perfect and settled into a rhythm that was not too soft or too hard on my legs. I looked down at my computer and found I was going 25 mph while expelling relatively little effort. The roads were wet with the pre-dawn dew while drops of water fell from the eucalyptus trees on all sides of us. Our group, now led by what must surely be accomplished racers, rounded a number of corners while maintaining their speed and cadence.

The less experienced riders in the group, myself included, slowed down in fears of crashing on the apex of each corner, only to quickly play catchup realizing that our caution was unwarranted. As we continued forward I could feel the gentle sting of the dew in the air slap against my skin. I looked down and saw I was covered in beads of water.

We pushed through a number of corners now in perfect cadence to the rest of group and found ourselves in the second large climb of the route. Like a well choreographed dance troupe we jumped off our seats as the syncopated clicking and popping of gears gave our intent to overcome gravity and fly up this hill with the power of muscle and our will alone.

I was forced to hide my shameful juvenile grin as I found myself passing other riders racing for the top. My heart raced from the effort and excitement as I realized this hill had nearly killed me just 1 year before. Near the top, I took stock of condition and found I was saturated with water and sweat. Then, on cue, the sun opened up and revealed itself and the blue sky. Very few times in my life have I felt so great. Today is a good day.

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Meet the Manager – Charlottesville, VA

Congratulations to our Charlottesville, VA store, which was just voted “Favorite Bike Shop” in the 2010 Readers’ Choice awards from The Daily Progress.  Read on below to learn about Tim, our store manager, and drop on by if you’re in the area to see why we were voted number 1 in Charlottesville!

Charlottesville, VA

Store Manager:

Tim Gathright Read more of this post

Scattante Stories Giveaway Winner

We just wanted to say thanks to everyone who participated in the Scattante Stories Giveaway!  We received an amazing array of stories of people enjoying their Scattante bikes, from the funny to the inspiring.  We were humbled that our bikes have made a difference for so many of you, and choosing just one winner was an agonizing decision.

But there could only be one winner in this contest, so we had to choose one of these great stories to win our grand prize.  So congratulations to our winner, Gil from California!

We’ll share Gil’s simple but touching story with you next week, along with a few of the other entries that were almost picked to be the winner.  Thanks again for sharing your Scattante Stories with us, and keep on riding and creating brand new stories!

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Flashback Friday – Cover Model Lance

Way back in 1992, before the big comeback with Team Radioshack, before the 7 Tour de France titles, before the comeback from cancer, even before turning pro and winning the World Road Championships in 1993, Lance Armstrong was a Performance Bicycle cover model for our Summer catalog!

This catalog cover dates to a time way before Lance was a global icon and standard fare on many a magazine cover, although he was already a highly successful amateur bike racer in his own right.  As you may have guessed from the Skittles USA team jersey, this catalog came out during the lead up to the 1992 Summer Olympic Games, where Lance would go on to finish 14th in the Road Race (the top American).  Performance was the official bike supplier of the US Cycling Team for the Summer Games, so we took the opportunity to give a young up-and-comer some exposure on our catalog cover, oddly enough modeling our Synapse mountain bike!

But this wasn’t the only time we put Lance on the cover in 1992, as we also used this group shot of Lance and 3 other riders from Team USA (cropped from what was actually a promotional photo for Descente clothing).  Can you name the other 3 riders in the photo (the answer is below the photo)?

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Getting ready for Le Tour

Are you keeping up with the latest news from the Tour de France?  So far the race has been full of crashes and diabolical roads as the race weaves it way through Classics race country, and today’s stage over the cobbles could bring more of the same.  The yellow jersey has already changed hands, and the almost all of the race favorites have been involved in a pileup at some point.

Here at Performance, we’re following the Tour with rapt attention just like you, but this year we’re going to step up our coverage with actual eyes on the ground for the last week of the Tour!  We’re sending one of our own, David, over to France to ride and report about the Tour, courtesy of the folks at Europeds. It’s an opportunity we couldn’t pass up to bring you the story of what it’s like to actually be there at the Tour, riding the same slopes as the pros and then cheering on the racers with thousands of other die-hard cycling fans.  David will be reporting back about his experience as it happens, taking photos and videos to show you what it’s like to join the excitement that is cycling’s biggest stage.  It’s all part of our goal to Celebrate the Tour all month long, with special deals, news, and even a giveaway with some fantastic prizes!

Here are a few words from David himself, to tell you about the preparation for his adventure in France:

I can’t wait to get over to France and cover the Tour for all of the readers of the Performance Bicycle Blog.  I’ve been training hard to get my legs in shape to tackle the monster mountains of the Pyrenees.  Below you can see a Google Earth plot of one of my training rides out on the Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina (just so I could get the feel of climbing for miles on end, which isn’t exactly common near our headquarters):

As for my equipment, I’ll be riding the stiff and lightweight 2009 Fuji SL1 with full SRAM Red components (thankfully now including a compact crankset), topped off with a Forté Pro SL Saddle, perfect for attacking epic climbs.  Here you can see me and my machine atop Waterrock Knob, off of the Blue Ridge Parkway:

But don’t get the impression that I’m an elite rider by any means!  I’m not much of a racer and I’m usually just trying to hang on during the group rides that leave from our headquarters.  I’m going to give you the perspective of the cycling enthusiast that is willing to push himself to go just a little bit harder and faster, but who’s still out there to ride for the joy of riding.

And I want to hear from you! Comment on my blog posts or send a message to the Performance Twitter account to let me know what you want to see or know about when I’m in France (or to give me any advice). I will document my trip as I go, and post regular updates from the road.  I am going to share this experience with all of you, and give you some insight into what it’s like to ride the roads and take in the spectacle of the Tour de France (and hopefully give you the inspiration to follow the Tour yourself next time).

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Fuji SST Tour de France Limited Edition Road Bike

Have you looked at that cool-looking Fuji SST Tour de France Limited Edition Road Bike that is the Grand Prize in our Tour de France 2010 Giveaway?  It features Fuji’s advanced SST frame design and a special metallic paint finish that you won’t be able to miss in the Tour de France peleton on the bikes of Team Footon-Servetto-Fuji.

There are 20 available for pre-order right now on our site (available only via ship-to-store), but we got a sneak peek at a sample version here at the office.  That paint job is impressive in person, but here’s Bob to give you a quick breakdown of the bike’s other features:

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