July 17, 2013 2 Comments
May 23, 2013 3 Comments
While we were out on the west coast watching the action at the 2013 Amgen Tour of California, we dropped by the 2 Fuji-sponsored pro teams in the peloton, Team Champion System and Team NetApp-Endura. Both teams put up a strong showing in the race, including a victory on top of Mount Diablo, the Queen stage of the race, by Leopold Koenig of Team NetApp. Don’t miss our photo galleries of Stage 6, Stage 7, and Stage 8 over on our Facebook page to see more of the race.
Of course since we were so close to these pro bikes, we couldn’t miss the chance to do a quick bike check to see how they set up their Fuji Altamira and SST road bikes. Read on below to find out what Ryan Roth of Team Champion System and Leopold Koenig of Team NetApp-Endura rode in America’s biggest race.
Ryan is a 30 year old “all-rounder” for Team Champion System, and has been a pro cyclist for 7 years. Ryan is the current Canadian national road champion and at 5’9″ tall, he rides a 54cm Fuji SST Team C10 High Modulus frame in Team Champion System colors.
His bike is outfitted with 2012 SRAM Red components (10 speed), including a 53-39 SRAM crank with an SRM power meter and Speedplay Zero pedals with stainless steel spindles.
Vittoria Corsa Evo CX 23mm tubular tires are mounted to Oseous T-FCC 38 carbon wheels (38mm deep).
Out back, Ryan either ran an 11-25 or 11-26 cassette (a SRAM PG-1070 model to add weight), with a PC-1091 chain.
In talking to the team mechanic, he noted that it doesn’t take much to keep the bikes spotless, since they are washed every night. Just a light spray down with very gentle cleaners (like diluted Dawn detergent) and water, then a light lube for the chain. At most they are only cleaning off one day’s worth of road grime. And nothing is changed on the bike unless the rider asks for it – wheels, tires and cassettes are left with the bike at all times unless the rider specifically requests a change. Most of the team riders rode the same wheels and cassettes on every stage, even the climbing stages. At most they would use an 11-26 – that’s all you can use if you want to keep up with the group on the climbs! An 11-28 cassette sounds nice, but if you shifted into those gears you would immediately get dropped and lose too much time.
This is Leopold Koenig’s second year riding for Team NetApp – a 25 year old from the Czech Republic, Leo has been a pro since 2007. A climber and GC contender by nature, 5’9″ Leo piloted his Fuji Altamira SL C15 Ultra Light High Modulus carbon frame, a 54cm model in custom NetApp colors, to victory in the mountainous stage 7 of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California (after placing 8th in the stage 6 individual time trial).
Drivetrain duties were handled by new Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 series components (mechanical 11 speed), with a 53-39 crankset (although Leo runs an SRM power meter on his race bike) and Speedplay Zero Pedals.
Lightweight Oval Concepts 924 carbon tubular wheels were shod in Vittoria Corsa Evo CX 23mm tubular tires.
While this was Leo’s backup bike, it was outfitted exactly the same as his primary race bike (with the exception of an SRM power meter) – the same bike that conquered Stage 7 of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California, the Queen Stage of the race that finished on top of the mighty Mount Diablo. But the Altamira isn’t just a lightweight bike for climbers – on the final stage in Santa Rosa, Daniel Schorn of Team NetApp came up just short in a pure drag race to the finish, taking second place behind Peter Sagan.
April 1, 2013 Leave a comment
Since Kestrel-sponsored world-class pro triathlete Cameron Dye will be dropping by our Fort Lauderdale store on Friday, April 5, we thought that we would reach out to him beforehand to answer 10 questions, for those of you who aren’t able to meet him in person in Florida. But before we get to the questions, we want to give you a little background on Cam, and what makes him so fast.
The 28-year-old Boulder native won his age group in his first triathlon, the Boulder Peak Triathlon, as a 15-year-old high school student. Cam attended the University of Iowa on a swimming scholarship, where he was named team captain of the swim team and received All-Big Ten Academic honors. After receiving his degree in finance in 2006, he moved back to Boulder and began training and racing full-time. He earned his pro license later that summer.
With his 2010 victory at the St. Anthony’s Triathlon, Cam – along with his blonde, curly locks and his signature style of demolishing the field on the bike – made his presence known. Deemed an up-and-comer storming onto the tri scene, Cam tallied two wins and five podiums in 2011. After tallying six wins and an additional six Top-10’s aboard his Kestrel 4000 last year, Cam capped off his 2012 season with the greatest victory of his career: the 2012 Race the Toyota Cup series title. In recognition of his outstanding year, Cam was named 2012 Non-Olympic/ITU Triathlete of the Year by USA Triathlon.
10 Questions with Cameron Dye
Where are you from and how did you get started racing triathlons?
I was born and raised in Boulder, CO and began racing triathlons at 15. I grew up a swimmer and runner and after doing one at 15 decided it was something I wanted to chase as a career after swimming in college.
What is your favorite distance and why?
My favorite distance is the olympic distance, because of all the variety you have between drafting and non draft racing, and the fact that it is flat out for the whole race.
What’s your strongest event – swim, bike or run?
Historically it’s swimming, but I have won most of my victories because of my riding.
Which event do you need to work on the most?
Running is my weakest of the 3, and although I have made big strides as a runner it is something that I will continue to try and master.
What’s one piece of gear that you can’t do without (for racing or training)?
My headband… something has to keep the ‘fro under control!
Tell us about your bike – what do you love about your Kestrel?
My 4000 is fast, plain and simple. I love the fact that it still looks like a bike, and not a space ship like some of the “super bikes” and yet it is still winning lots of races. I have won 9 out of my 10 professional victories on a Kestrel, 8 of them on a 4000.
What do you eat before a race – is it the same every time?
I try and find Hawaiian pizza the night before, and I have always eaten maple and brown sugar instant oatmeal the morning of the race.
What is your best advice for a beginning triathlete?
In everything you do have a plan, but be willing to deviate from it if necessary. Listen to your body, and make sure you are having fun. Even the hardest workouts need to be enjoyable in some respect.
What are your goals for the season?
Defend my title as the Lifetime Fitness Series Champion, and win the fastest race in the world at HyVee.
Tell us about your hair – how does it fit under an aero helmet?
My hair has sort of become my trademark. I love the fact that I stick out a little bit from the average pro triathlete, and it fits my personality. Once it’s wet it fits just fine in a helmet, the trick is keeping it under control on the run!
February 5, 2013 1 Comment
With plenty of cowbells, intense racing and a raucous crowd – the 2013 UCI Cyclocross Worlds in Louisville, Kentucky, was a great show! For the first time ever, the elite cyclocross world championships were held outside of Europe, and, since it was only a short drive from our Cincinnati store, we couldn’t miss the chance to see what it was all about in person! As a proud sponsor of this once-in-a-lifetime event here in the US, Performance Bicycle sent a team of associates to meet some of the dedicated ‘cross fans and also take in the racing action.
Our team arrived a day early to get set up in the expo area near the race course only to be greeted by frigid temperatures and fresh snow – perfect ‘cross weather. But soon after we started unpacking our gear, we learned that the planned 2 day event had been compressed down to a single day of racing, due to impending flood waters from the nearby Ohio River.
So that meant that race day was an early one for our team – to get all 4 championship races completed, the schedule started in the morning and ran all day long. Fans started rolling in shortly after 8AM to find their favorite viewing spot on the compact race course and we were ready for the influx with an array of giveaways, games and (of course) cowbells.
Our tent was busy all day long – we met ‘cross fans from all across the US and Europe, including folks from about 30 states and at least 6 different countries. It’s not just Belgians and Dutch who love cyclocross – fans of all stripes were out in force to watch their favorite racers!
Of course the dedicated European supporters’ clubs made the trip as well – with matching wigs, flags, hats and outfits. These groups travel to almost every race on the pro circuit, so they weren’t going to let an ocean get in the way of watching the world championships in person.
But we should also take a moment to give a special thanks to the dedicated Louisville Parks Department team that worked late into the night to hold back the flood waters long enough for the race to go on – without the sandbags and barriers below, no one would have had the chance to enjoy this spectacular event.
Finally it was race time – a non-stop showcase of the best cyclocross racing in the world. The junior men’s race was first out of the blocks on a still-frozen course – as you can see, conditions were fast but still slippery for these youngest racers. Dutch rider Mathieu Van Der Poel continued his season-long domination and defended his junior world crown, but American Logan Owen rode to an impressive 4th place overall – supported by a boisterous crowd!
And the crowd noise was indeed impressive! The ‘cross fans were in full throat from the earliest races to the end of the day – and not just for the leaders or US riders (although there was plenty of “USA! USA!” chants for the home team). Even the last place riders were supported with a wall of sound on every lap – we put together a quick video to share some of what the atmosphere was like:
And they’re off – these Belgian fans got a snapshot of the women’s race as they gunned for the hole shot.
But in the women’s race no one could touch the incomparable Marianne Vos, who soloed to her 6th cyclocross world championship (although American Katie Compton put in a valiant chase to get second place).
American Jonathan Page put together a great race on his brand new Fuji Altamira CX 1.0 bike – he was running in the top 10 until a jammed chain slowed him down in the middle of the race.
All in all, this was an amazing event – we want to thank everyone who came by our tent to say hello and the folks at the Louisville 2013 organization for letting us be a part of this historic day of racing. If you weren’t able to make it to the race in person, definitely check out the replay on the UCI Youtube channel.
January 29, 2013 Leave a comment
In case you’ve missed it, the UCI Cyclo-Cross Elite World Championships is leaving Europe for the very first time in 2013 (the weekend of February 2-3 to be precise). The cyclocross elite are going to descend on Louisville, Kentucky to celebrate the crazy world that is ‘cross racing – full of cold weather, mud, Belgians, cowbells, barriers and some of the most intense bike racing that you will ever find. If you’re not familiar with the basics of cyclocross, head over to our Learning Center to find out what this specialized winter cycling discipline is all about. If you haven’t seen it in person, the US cyclocross scene is passionate and growing fast – the guys here in our office don’t use ‘cross to stay in shape for next season, they use the rest of the year to get ready for ‘cross season!
Needless to say, we couldn’t miss this amazing opportunity to see the world’s best cyclocross racers battle it out for a coveted rainbow jersey here in the US. As an official sponsor of Louisville 2013, we’ll be sending a crew to the event to cover the action and also to meet fans at the expo who come by our Performance Bicycle tent. We’re excited to meet cyclocross fans from around the globe (although we need to work on our Flemish), show off some of the great cyclocross bikes that we carry, and even give away some pretty amazing prizes and freebies (yes, we will have cowbells)!
So what do you need to know if you can’t make it to Louisville for the big event this year? We’ll be posting updates to the Performance Bike Facebook and Twitter pages live every day, plus of course there will be great coverage of the racing on cycling news sites like VeloNews and Cyclocross Magazine. If you want to watch the races live here in the US, you’ll either need to find an international channel that is broadcasting the races or tune in to USA Cycling’s YouTube channel, which will stream every race live for free. But whatever you do, don’t miss out on this opportunity to watch the world’s best here in the US. Whether you are rooting for the American team of Jonathan Page, Jeremy Powers, Ryan Trebon, Zach McDonald, Logan Owen, and Katie Compton (to name just a few), or if you want to see international stars like Sven Nys, Niels Albert, Lars Van der Haar, or the incomparable Marianne Vos – it is definitely going to be a weekend to remember in Kentucky.
October 9, 2012 Leave a comment
Our team of Johnny & Chris has finally recovered from their second place finish at the epic 2012 Pisgah Stage Race – 5 days, 195 miles and 28,000 feet of climbing on some of North Carolina’s best mountain bike trails. Now that they’ve had some time to recover, we’re handing the blog over to Johnny, to wrap up their racing experience.
So I have had over a week to reflect on the 2012 Pisgah MTB Stage Race. I want to give you the highs and lows, products I am glad I had, and a few final thoughts. If you are thinking about doing any mountain bike stage races, especially the Pisgah MTB Stage Race, be sure and read this post along with our coverage during the race.
- Incredible world class trails – My new favorite place to ride.
- Descents – Challenging, yet rewarding. You have to know how to ride a bike here.
- Waterfalls/scenery – In one county alone there are more than 250 waterfalls and many of the 400 miles of singletrack pass right by some of the best.
- Fellow racers – Everyone who participated and volunteered at the event was super friendly, ready to help out, and just a joy to be around.
- Less of a race feel – It didn’t have the feel of a race. I mean this in a good way. There were no signs of prideful, ego-boosting personalities.
- Satisfaction of completion – Finishing this grueling event is a feat in and of itself.
- Weather – While the rain of Stage One was rough, the blue skies, low humidity, and fresh mountain air overly compensated for it.
- Weather – Part of the Pisgah National Forest is considered a rain forest, I believe it now.
- Climbs – Long, never ending. Each time you think the next turn will bring relief, the trail goes up even higher. A familiar phrase from course marshals was, “Straight up that way.”
- Mental – You get used to the physical difficulty of the race. What is more important is being strong mentally to keep going and keep pushing, no matter what it looks like around the next bend.
- Bike part destruction – Your bike and parts will be put to the test. Bring a spare bike, just so you know you have a replacement of every part on a bike. It is truly the easiest way to ensure and bring all the spare parts you might need.
- Recovery? There is a question mark because by the time you finish the stage, get cleaned up, eat, and get your bike ready for the next day, there isn’t much time left before you wake up, wash, rinse, and repeat.
- Forte Pisgah MTB Tires – With the weather on day one, tire selection was critical to maintaining forward momentum on the narrow, rock strewn, rooty singletrack (or as some call it, halftrack). Therefore I was very glad I had the Forte Pisgah tires below me to grab hold of the rugged terrain. The Forte Pisgah excels at gaining traction in this type of environment. They did such a good job of maintaining traction on the trails that they boosted my confidence while riding and given the trail conditions I was more willing to attempt difficult sections, knowing the tires would not break loose. Let’s just say the tires definitely earned their right to be named Pisgah and also a long term place on my bike.
- White Brothers Loop 140 TCR 26″ Suspension Fork – Pisgah Mountain Bike trails are for true riders. One has to know how to handle a bike to survive the trials in the Pisgah National Forest. With that in mind, I enjoyed checking out the other racers bikes to see what products they were using. On multiple occasions I spotted a white brothers loop soaking up the roots and rocks at Pisgah. I have been riding the Loop now for about 9 months and with Pisgah to cap off my testing I can honestly say it has earned its keep on the front of my bike. The fork just works, it comes out of the box ready to go and it isn’t overly complicated with buttons, knobs, dials, and levers everywhere. In most cases, with such long days on the trail with varying terrain, I could just set the threshold damper all the way and leave it all day.
- Shimano XTR RD-M985 Shadow Plus Rear Derailleur – As I am sure you know by now, the trails at Pisgah are tough, rugged, yet rewarding. I was glad to have the XTR Shadow Plus rear derailleur. I imagine the sound of chain slap would have driven me crazy by the end of the 5 day event. This technology is here to stay, as SRAM now has a similar feature in their TYPE 2 models. I did have to add some tension on one occasion during the week with the built in tool. I am curious to try out the SRAM version to see how it holds up because I am not sure how many seasons the Shimano mechanism will make it through.
- Shimano XT PD-M785 MTB Trail Pedals – Slippery Roots, skinny trails, creek crossings, and mud strewn singletrack call for two things when it comes to pedals; secure footing and mud clearance. The XT trail pedal has both.
- DT Swiss Tricon XM1550 Wheels – As mentioned before, the Mountain Bike Trails at Pisgah are tough. They will test a rider and the bike to the limits. The trails are laced with rock gardens, roots, drops, and high speed descents with all of the above. I was riding these wheels to find out if we should bring them in to our product lineup, and these wheels took it all in stride. They are very stiff with a low weight, the perfect combo for a multiday stage race. After multiple encounters with rocks, roots, and drops they are still spinning true.
- Brakes – We quickly realized how important brakes are at Pisgah. If you don’t know what I am talking about, see the post on Stage One. I began the race with the new Magura MT series disc brake. They are light weight and have great modulation. Once the pads were gone after stage one and no shops in town had a replacement set of pads (keep this in mind when gathering spare parts to bring to an event), I had to switch over the set of Shimano XTR BR-M988 Hydraulic Disc Brakes for Trail off of the spare bike. The Shimano brakes were a little heavier than the Magura’s; however, the increased power and finned pads were welcomed on the steep mountain descents. My verdict: All Mountain Riding: Nothing beats the power and cooling technology of the XTR’s. Cross Country Riding: Light weight and superior modulation make the Magura MT series a top contender.
- Grips – I was fortunate enough to try out both the Ergon GS1 and GA1 grips throughout the stage race. My thoughts. The Ergon GA1 is labeled as All Mountain and it is when compared to the other grips in the Ergon line. I loved the feel and shape of the grip. The contour through the palm was excellent, as it filled the gap you normally find in the center of your palm when wrapped around a bar. These grips excelled on the descents, dampening vibrations and providing a solid feel. These have made a permanent home on my bike.The Ergon GS1 grips have a larger surface area for your hand to rest on. Some people love these grips and use them on all their bikes; however, they are not for me. I enjoyed them on the climbs, being able to adjust my position and rest my hand some. On the other hand, with the steepness of the descents, I found myself sliding forward and with nothing to really wrap around I had to hold on much more tightly to keep my weight back on the bike. I had the feeling on many occasions that I was going to slide over the bars. These may be for you if your typical rides aren’t as steep on the downhill sections.
- Rockshox Reverb Adjustable Seatpost – This is one item I would not do the Pisgah Stage Race without. Having the ability to lower my seat to clear so many trail obstacles was priceless. I am not the only one who feels this way. Just ask most mountain bike riders and they will tell you their dropper post is their most favorite piece of equipment. The RockShox Reverb set the bar high and is one of the best dropper posts in the market.
- Devinci Dixon- It was a blast riding this bike at Pisgah. Even though the Devinci Dixon is made in Canada, I think it was built with the Pisgah trails in mind. What a bike. The split pivot suspension design works very well under power and braking. My consensus for the race; Most others brought the efficient climber (29er hardtail) to race on with the thought they would just suffer through the descents. The climbs were difficult in that everyone suffered, no matter the bike. Therefore, I was one of the few having a blast on the Dixon bombing down Farlow and Pilot Rock. If having fun, ripping down world class singletrack is your thing; you must try the Devinci Dixon.
September 23, 2012 5 Comments
A more detailed write-up of the final stage and a full race retrospective including in depth product reviews is on the way. We didn’t want to leave you in suspense however, so let it be known that we held onto second place duo team. If you just can’t wait to learn more about Pisgah Stage 5, check out Cycling Dirt’s video recap here (you’ll notice one particular Team Performance cyclist bravely pulling the field at about 1:16).
More to come!
September 21, 2012 2 Comments
If any of you remember our coverage from the Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race from two years ago, you may remember that Team Performance had a VERY rough stage 4. We limped across the line after 7 hours and 30 minutes of the most difficult riding we had ever done. Having that experience going into stage 4 2012 created a sense of dread as we lined up for the start.
The stage was basically identical so we knew in advance that we had to start by climbing the steep side of Black Mountain.
Black Mountain eventually gave way to Turkey Pen Gap. Todd (the race organizer) called this section of trail the most “back woods” section of the race and he wasn’t kidding. The trail was so overgrown that riders could barely see a couple of feet in front of their front wheels. This didn’t decrease the technical nature of Pisgah Forest, so it was a game of reflexes trying to stay upright.
Once through the dense Turkey Pen Gap we headed back onto Squirrel Gap. This time we rode it the other direction and it was dry. What a difference! We were cleaning lines that only days ago we had to walk.
At the end of the day we solidified our lead over third place (and lost even more time to the first placed team). Tomorrow brings the climb up Laurel Mountain and the Pilot Rock descent. It’s going to be a brutal day but at least it won’t be snowing!
September 20, 2012 Leave a comment
We were informed last night by the Pisgah Stage Race director that today would be the easy day. Let’s just say that an “easy day” in the Pisgah Stage Race is one of the most difficult days back home! While there were some lovely high speed sections, we also encountered the usual Pisgah Stage Race mountain climbs where only the strongest riders can power up while staying in the saddle. But first let’s take a look at some videos from Stage 2. Here’s the start of the stage:
A quick view in the pack mid-race:
And then the madness that is Farlow Gap:
Now let’s get back to the third stage – our day started like every other.
The Performance Team felt strong today, now three days in. We know you are wondering, and yes we were able to put a little time back in between us and the third place team. The cheering section out there was also in full regalia:
Tomorrow we’re going to work on capturing some video as we tackle the stage that everyone calls the most difficult stage in the race. In the meantime, you can find us doing us what we do best in the latest video from Cycling Dirt here. (That would be eating)
The product of the day is Paceline Eurostyle Chamois Butt’r.
If there’s one product that I (Christopher) would not be able to live without at an event like this, it would be good chamois cream. Paceline’s Eurostyle has just the slightest hint of the cooling effect that differentiates it from non-eurostyle types of cream. It’s not overpowering and it really does last a very long time. Proper “body” care is absolutely essential to surviving an event this long and difficult and my care starts with Paceline.
September 20, 2012 Leave a comment
With minutes to spare we got our last needed set of brake pads replaced (check yesterday’s post to see why) and headed to the starting line of stage #2 of the 2012 Pisgah MTB Stage Race. The stage started out of the Cradle of Forestry, a first ever for the Pisgah Stage Race.
The Performance Team of Chris Danz and Johnny Pratt ended up in second place for the duo team category after stage one. Therefore, we had to do our best with sore muscles to maintain our position. While the weather for stage one created a mindset of strictly business to finish the stage, day two’s sunshine brought about smiles, excitement, and chatter among the racers as we barreled down the technical singletrack.
Do not be fooled however, because pretty soon the climbing ensued. The beast of the stage was a particularly steep 4 mile climb that put our mental game to the test. With mind and body battling it out we anticipated the infamous Farlow Gap downhill. Let’s just say this section is extremely difficult to complete in dry conditions, with so many drops, ledges, and boulders making up the descent. Then you throw in the downpour from yesterday and you now have the Farlow Gap Waterfall. Johnny was able to clean the line somehow, all the while passing racer after racer attempting to walk (more like slide) down with their bikes.
Meanwhile Chris was putting his medic skills to use bandaging up victims of the descent.
Now we’re just a few back-porch repairs away from sleep. Tomorrow’s stage will be the shortest of the race at only 25 miles. Does that mean we’ll have a super easy time of it? Will our bikes hold up? Will we hold off that third place team? Stay tuned to find out!