Community Events: 2013 South Florida Bike MS

Since we’re now open for business in Florida, with 4 new stores and 1 coming soon, we couldn’t wait to get on the ground and out in our new local communities. So what better way to celebrate than with one of our favorite activities, helping out with the dedicated riders of Bike MS.

Steve and Dave are set up and ready to tune-up some bikes.

Steve and Dave are set up and ready to tune-up some bikes.

Three Performance team members headed down to Miami to help out with the South Florida Bike MS in April. We were there to work, doing everything from handing out nutrition to performing quick bike tune-ups – before, during and after the 50, 80 or 100 mile rides.

Dave and Christopher tune up bikes.

Dave and Christopher tune up bikes.

As you would expect in Florida, the weather was sunny and beautiful on ride weekend! More than 1400 riders turned out for the 2-day event and everyone had a very good time. We worked on everything from dry and noisy chains to punctured tires and tubes (and even one punctured rim).

Three handups ready to happen.

Three handups ready to happen.

On the second day we had the first aid station. While there’s not usually too much mechanic work that needs to happen only 7 miles into the ride, we did have a few boxes of GU Energy Gels to hand out so we stood next to the course on a straight open section of road and handed out over 100 peanut butter GU gels on the fly. No need to stop for this aid station, we’ll hook you up as you ride by!

Steve distributes powerbars on the move.

Steve distributes powerbars on the move (click for the animated version).

Here Steve shows us the fastest way to empty a box of PowerBar Performance bars – open them up near hungry Bike MS riders first thing in the morning! All in all, the ride was a big success with no serious injuries and loads of smiles. We had a great time helping out and ended up manning 5 aid stations over the course of the two day event. We can’t wait to help out again next year!

Community Events: Winter Wrap-Up

store_wideIt’s been a little while since we’ve checked in with our local store associates, but cooler weather didn’t stop teams from our over 100 stores all across the country from staying busy in their local cycling communities. We put on clinics, supported rides helped out with local advocacy groups and more. For more info about your local Performance Bicycle, check your local store page for regularly scheduled Spin Doctor clinics & group rides. Read on below for some of what our stores were involved with in the last few months.

el_tour_2012In November associates from our Arizona stores helped out at the 2012 El Tour De Tucson. We covered their day in detail in an earlier post, but our teams were busy at 3 aid stations out on the course, supporting the almost 9,000 cyclists on the 111 mile route. Our expert mechanical help meant that no one had to quit the ride because of their bike!

131_icemanOur Bloomfield Hills, Michigan store came out to support a slightly chillier race, at the Iceman Cometh Challenge Bicycle Race. This annual 29 mile point-to-point mountain bike race is so popular that registration fills up in minutes! Our team had a great time at the packed pre-race expo, and we even saw some familiar faces among the 3700 racers on a slushy race day.

bike the coast2Also in November, our Sorrento Valley, California store participated in the 3rd annual Bike the Coast event, which offered 7,15,25,50 or 100 mile courses from the Oceanside Pier. We provided the turn-around rest stop and sag support for the 50 and 100 mile course, which was conveniently located right in front of our store.  We had a great turn out for the event, as the organizers said they had approximately 1700 participants. Our two big tents were busy all day with volunteers handing out food, and our mechanics helping with flats and other mechanicals to keep folks on the road.

va_beach_rodeoThis next event may have been small in size, but we our Virginia Beach, Virginia store was still proud to receive this certificate of appreciation from the local Rotary Club.  Store associates Erin Simms and Bob Orr were instrumental in the planning and execution of this safety rodeo that we participated in for several hours – they were excited to be able to give back to their community in this small way, but who doesn’t like to get a little recognition for their efforts!

Also at our Virginia Beach, Virginia store, six riders participated in an Indoor Century in February. Following the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association’s rules for an indoor century, riders hooked up their trainers and set out for six hours. Riders were given advice on nutrition strategy and were given great advice regarding their riding style to help them optimize performance.  Our store manager, Terry, was nice enough to whip up some PB&J’s for the day and provided fresh fruit. In the end, two riders lasted the full six hours. It was a fantastic time for staff and customers alike!

This next shot is from an ongoing indoor cycling class in our Greenwood, Indiana store. A regular crew of about 15 people showed up on a weekly basis over the winter, staying fit and pedaling away the winter blues with our store team. There isn’t a much better way to stay motivated than to pedal away with some new friends!

79_clinicOf course our stores also continued with their regular Spin Doctor how-to clinics, covering topics from roadside/trailside repair, to tuning derailleurs, to basic bike maintenance tips that every cyclist should learn. Above is a shot from a group in our Virginia Beach, Virginia store getting tips from our resident Spin Doctor.
121_clinicHere’s an interested group of cyclists in our Southlake, Texas store, learning more about derailleurs.

97_clinicOur Dayton, Ohio store also fielded large crowds for their Spin Doctor clinics, like this one above.

tampa_goAnd finally, we can’t neglect to mention the Grand Opening of our very first stores in Florida! Here Bonnie, the store manager of our Tampa store, got to do the honors at the celebratorial ribbon-cutting ceremony at our very first store in the Sunshine State.

fort_lauderdale_goAnd here’s the excited crowd of cyclists stretched around the corner our new Fort Lauderdale store, eager to get inside and celebrate our grand opening with us.

So after a busy winter, we can’t wait to see what the warmer weather brings our way. Our store teams are excited to get back on the road and out in their communities even more to share their passion for cycling!

Community Events: Performance Bicycle in Florida

Here at Performance Bicycle, we are proud to announce the opening of five stores in Florida, the first time that we have opened a store in the Sunshine State. To celebrate the much-anticipated stores, each new location will host a Grand Opening event featuring many exciting offers for cyclists of all levels.

tampa_ribbonDavid Pruitt, Performance Bicycle’s chief executive officer, summed up why Florida was such a great fit for Performance Bicycle: “Florida has a vibrant and growing cycling community, and we’re looking forward to becoming a part of that on the local level.  While Florida’s always been a strong state for our e-commerce business, we’re very excited to serve Florida cyclists even better with our five initial locations.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe new stores all feature our easy to shop layout with over 3,000 cycling items including a great selection of bikes, cycling clothing, sports nutrition, components and accessories. The stores will also feature Performance Bicycle’s signature Spin Doctor Service and Repair department. Spin Doctor Certified Mechanics participate in a continuous training program that assures customers receive expert service for their bike. This training, combined with years of experience working with the top brands in cycling, enable Performance Spin Doctors to expertly service all brands of bikes, no matter where they were originally purchased.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur new Performance stores will offer a broad selection of cycling products and services to meet the needs of all cyclists. In addition, with the high number of tri-athletes living and training in the area, all Florida stores will feature clothing, bicycles and accessories for triathletes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADuring the first half of 2013, Performance Bicycle plans to open the following five stores in Florida:

If you are in Fort Lauderdale or Tampa during the weekends of 3/15-3/17 or 3/22-3/24, definitely stop by to say hello and check out the Grand Opening celebrations.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you live in the area of our new Florida stores, or any of our over 100 other locations, remember that local cycling clubs are invited to contact their neighborhood Performance Bicycle stores to organize membership drives, group rides or to use the store as a location for club meetings. We hope to see you soon!

Event Recap: 2013 UCI Cyclo-Cross Worlds

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.

DSC_0001So 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.

DSC_0013aOur 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!

DSC_0008aWe even ran into Captain America and his blue-haired sidekick, who obligingly posed with our cool cowbells.

02022013_CXWorlds_0032Of 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.

02022013_CXWorlds_0002But 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.

02022013_CXWorlds_0004Finally 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!

02022013_CXWorlds_0007And 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.

02022013_CXWorlds_0017But 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).

02022013_CXWorlds_0021By the time the men’s race started in the late afternoon, the slowly thawing course turned into a sloppy, muddy track – perfect for ‘cross racing and epic race photos.

DSC_0137We had our cowbells ready to cheer on the racers, especially in front of the Performance Bicycle course banners.

DSC_0049Top-placed American finisher Tim Johnson here navigates a tricky corner in front of the huge crowd.

02022013_CXWorlds_0051The new world champ, Sven Nys, was focused all race long – he stayed at the front of the pack all race and escaped for the win on the last lap, out-dueling teammate Klaas Vantornout.

02022013_CXWorlds_0053Crowds, banners, cowbells and mud – is this Belgium or Kentucky?

02022013_CXWorlds_0054American 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.

02022013_CXWorlds_0064And just to show that the event organizers made the right call to move all of the racing to Saturday, here’s what the course looked like on Sunday morning!

Flooded course form @timjohnsoncx on Twitter

Flooded course via @timjohnsoncx on Twitter

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.

Community Events: 2012 El Tour De Tucson

It’s 5AM in Tucson, AZ and 9000 cyclists are squeezing into every available space around the start line of the 2012 El Tour De Tucson. A contingent from our Arizona store support team set up a last-minute tune-up station, as most of our people and tools were already on their way out to our 3 aid stations out on the course. Sipping on free coffee and trying to stay warm, the buzz of the day fills the air.

El Tour Start 5amAttracting a crowd of 9,000 cyclists from throughout the United States and worldwide, “El Tour” is one of the premier organized rides in United States and also one of the top 3 fundraising rides (Perimeter Bicycling distributes funds to an array of local charities every year). The main event routes show off Tucson’s beautiful vistas of its local mountain ranges and Saguaro cactus, along a flat to rolling or moderately hilly course – although 2 dry but sandy river crossings greet the full 111-mile riders! All routes offer aid stations with water and snacks spaced about 7-10 miles apart, full police support at intersections and plenty of morale-boosting volunteers and spectators.

But this great event doesn’t begin on the cold streets of Tuscon, so let’s take a quick look back at the Expo and the leadup to this year’s “El Tour”.

Three days before the start of the event, we set up our booth alongside many other local and national vendors. We were lucky in that we were right across the aisle from the free t-shirts. The first two days of the expo slipped by and before we knew it, we were one day away from the race. The expo was packed and our booth was the place to be!

Maybe it was the free bike gear we were giving away. Or maybe it was the “Blind Folded Spin Doctor Challenge”! If you managed to change a flat tire faster than one of our blind-folded Spin Doctor mechanics, you were in for some great prizes.

But let’s get back to the real action. No, not the awesome Southwestern Cuisine in Tucson, although that was excellent . . .

No, we mean the real highlight of the weekend, the 30th El Tour de Tucson. In the blink of an eye, nearly 9,000 cyclists of all ages and abilities had lined up and were ready to head out onto the 111 mile course (although 85, 60 or 42 mile routes were also available).

It took more than 7 minutes after the starting gun fired just to get everyone rolling – but finally they were off! We quickly split up and headed to our respective aid stations.

Jeff Dalina (Chandler), Tom Flores (San Diego), Rusty Sattler (Scottsdale), Bryan Zittolosen (Tucson) at tech support stop #2.

As riders came up to the Performance Bicycle aid stations, they were treated to the finest in mechanical care. Just like every event we participate in, our services on race-day are completely free.

We lubed chains, fixed flats, and changed tires to make sure that no one had to quit the ride because of their bikes.

We fixed bikes no matter what they were – including this custom Ti recumbent with HED wheels and a stars and stripes cloth fairing! One of the best things about the ride for us, as with any ride, is seeing all of the Scattantes out on course (check out our album on the Performance Facebook page). All in all, we had a great El Tour and very much look forward to returning next year!

Store Events: October Recap

After a brief summer vacation, it’s time to get back to our monthly recap of what some of our over 100 stores all across the country have been up to in their local communities – from running clinics, to supporting rides, to helping out with local advocacy. If you want more info about your local Performance Bicycle, check your local store page for regularly scheduled Spin Doctor clinics & group rides. Read on below for a sampling of the events our stores were involved with last month.

Our Bailey’s Crossroads, VA store helped out at the Best Buddies Challenge – an event dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. There were over 2500 riders in the event with around 800 passing through our aid station. Corey and Julio helped riders with everything from essential repairs to crash inspections.

Our San Rafael, CA store helped out at the Marin Biketoberfest. This event was hosted by the Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC), the local advocacy group in the area, and Access4bikes, a group dedicated creating more single track access for bikes in Marin County.  With participation from local vendors, bike manufacturers, west coast brewers, and local live bands, Biketoberfest provides fun for the entire cycling community.

Our Kearney Mesa, CA store pitched in to support their local Safe Routes To School program – which promotes cycling and walking to school for elementary and middle school kids. We provided tips on securely locking your bike, proper helmet fit, safe riding practices, basic maintenance, and more.

Our Bonita, CA store sent two associates to provide mechanical support at the last rest stop for the Bike MS Bay to Bay Tour, in beautiful Crown Point San Diego. Mechanic/Bike Builder Daniel Estevez and Store Manager Greg Heath set up a tent and work stand and helped out other volunteers getting nutrition/hydration/repairs out to the riders. 

Ryan and Jeff from our Scottsdale, AZ store helped out with the monthly trail maintenance on the Black Canyon Trail in Arizona. Our team worked along with Black Canyon Trail Coalition members and other volunteers to cut back cat claw vegetation and build crib walls for areas that were eroded by the summer monsoon storms.

Ryan and Jeff logged a total of 16 hours of trail maintenance during the trail event. For every volunteer hour worked, the trail system gets credited funds to put back into the trail system for building more single-track!

Our San Francisco, CA store helped out Playworks and SalesForce.com at a monthly event benefiting deserving children from various elementary schools in San Francisco. Playworks and SalesForce work together to buy the bikes and supply a total of 120 volunteers to build 80 bikes in only 2 hours! Our team to helped to build and check bikes for safety after the volunteers built their assigned bikes.

Our Oceanside, CA store provided a bicycle safety instruction and light maintenance clinic for local Cub Scout Troop 748 at the Scout House in Holiday Park, Carlsbad, California. Pre-ride safety, vehicle code, and hands on demonstration of tube/tire service as well as safe bike handling techniques were shared with a interested group of young cyclists.

Our Seattle, WA store helped out at the Kitsap Color Classic, another great event by the Cascade Bicycle Club. We did a few safety checks for  people who crashed on the ride, but most of the labor we did involved basic derailleur adjustments. Our crew was able to help out riders of all levels throughout the day.

Our Richmond, VA store helped out at the the first annual Martin’s Tour of Richmond. Starting and ending at the Richmond Raceway Complex, the ride was a logistical feat to offer three different distance rides passing through a total of four counties; impressively, police officers from each county stopped traffic for cyclists at every single intersection on the route!  We offered mechanical support and gave out water bottles at the last aid station of the tour.  Our own Matt Grilli even tackled the ride on a fixed-gear bike – out of the 591 riders that committed to the 102-mile route, he finished 92nd in just under six hours!

Our Newark, DE store helped out at the Bike MS: Bike to the Bay ride. There were over 1600 riders participating in this event, and we were busy all day fixing tires/tubes along with spending most of the morning setting and checking tire pressures for the participants. 

Our Woodland Hills, CA store participated in the amazing CicLAvia 2012 Los Angeles! It created a network of connections between our neighborhoods and businesses and parks with corridors filled with fun. It was a fantasic and fun event that should happen in all major cities! Check out our blog post for more info. 

A team from our Columbia, MD store pitched in to help the Bike MS: Bike to Bordeaux event. It was a little cold out, but everyone that came through our checkpoint was having a great time and seemed thrilled to see us.

A team from our Roseville, CA Store participated in the 19th annual Roseville Bikefest. We provided safety inspections and repairs on bicycles so that kids could participate in riding an obstacle course and so that parents could be made aware of safety issues and proper bicycle maintenance.  The City of Roseville hosted the event which included safety seminars, helmet fittings, free helmets, prizes, riding demonstrations, demonstrations from fire and police departments, and entertainment.  

Finally, our Buford, GA Store helped out with the Gainesville SORBA Tumbling Creek 6 Hour RaceThis race, the “Sprocktoberfest” is hosted by the Gainesville SORBA branch and is an annual, popular event. It is attended by between 250 and 300 riders and as many spectators. Our chief Spin Doctor, Jose Paz served as the main neutral support for the race and was very heartily welcomed. Two of our store representatives, Greg Vaughn and Will Bennett also participated in the race. Besides supplying neutral support, Jose had Cytomax drink available in coolers and GU gels to offer to tired racers!

It was another busy month for our store teams – remember to check your local store page to find out what’s going on at your local Performance Bicycle and to check for our regularly scheduled Spin Doctor clinics.

2013 Alpine Loop Gran Fondo – the Finale

If you’ve been following on our blog, you’ve read how Zach, from our home office, had prepared his body and his bike gear to get ready to tackle the challenge of Jeremiah Bishop’s Alpine Loop Gran Fondo in Virginia. But we couldn’t just send him up to the ride by himself, so we put together a team of 3 to report back on the most challenging and adventurous Gran Fondo in the United States!

Peloton heading out of town | Photo by Joe Foley Photography: http://www.joefoleyphotography.com

Below is a photo of our crew the night before the big ride, with Jeremiah Bishop in the middle, sporting his extra-special white tuxedo for the pre-ride dinner (he was the host, after all). Ross, on the left, is a merchandise assistant in our bikes division – and is also an all-around fast dude on a bike. David works in our marketing department as our social media guy – documenting adventures such as this ride. And finally, Zach, one of our web merchants, is on the right – he’s been training hard all year to lose weight, gain fitness and get ready for the Gran Fondo. Read on below to find out how the ride worked out for each member of our team.

Ross, David, Jeremiah Bishop and Zach | Photo by Joe Foley Photography: http://www.joefoleyphotography.com

Ross:

After hearing rave reviews from a few friends, I knew that the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo had to be highlighted on my calendar this year.  Any time you hear the words mountains, bikes, beer, gravel, and fundraising in an event description, a great time is to be had… and it was. I was very thankful to have taken Jeremiah up on his pre-fondo training ride a few weeks prior to the main event.  This ride gave me a chance to test out new equipment on many of the infamous sections of the course such as the hour long paved and gravel climbs and subsequent hair-raising descents of Reddish Mountain.  This ride was when I discovered my fondness for road tubeless setups and disc brakes on the road.

I’ll start my recap with a quick rundown of my bike setup, since it was a little different than the other guys. I rode a Scattante CFX Black cyclocross bike, running on Stan’s ZTR Alpha 340 disc front and rear wheels with Maxxis Padrone 700x23c tubeless tires, set up tubeless with Stan’s sealant (of course).

Following a brief staging, the ride was underway, we were winding through the streets of historic Harrisonburg and then off into the farmlands of the foothills.  After an hour riding over rollers, you could feel the peloton starting to get a little antsy as the first timed climb of the ride began and the pain began.  It wasn’t long before I was up near the front hanging on for the next several miles as Ben King set the pace.  As we passed over the summit, I was very thankful to have disc brakes on the wide open descent into the valley.  The Avid BB7 road disc calipers provided consistent stopping power no matter what the descent had in store.

Ross on his Scattante CFX Black | Photo by Joe Foley Photography: http://www.joefoleyphotography.com

With the first climb out of the way, the small re-grouping at the front was off to tackle the next few climbs… which happened to be the hardest of the day!  The second climb was 30 minutes riding 10-20% grades on gravel.  It was nothing short of exhausting with no chance for legs to recover.  The next few climbs were paved but equally as steep and energy draining.

Half-way through the ride, and with virtually no chance for recovery and another food/water break, the “final” climb of the day, a gravel road to the top of Reddish Knob, was breathing down our neck.  I don’t think that this road can really be considered “gravel”, it is more of a road cut into solid stone.  Tubeless tires won the day on this rough terrain with low tire pressure and virtually no chance of a pinch-flat.

After a grueling hour of climbing, the final check point came and went with a sigh of relief.  It was only downhill to Harrisonburg, or so it showed on the course profile. But don’t be mistaken by the elevation loss, the last 20 miles of the Gran Fondo were extremely hard! Fatigue and saddle time had taken their effect but the finish was so close that it encouraged us to ride harder – that and the fact that gobs of food and New Belgium beer were waiting at the finish line.

If you plan on riding the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, be sure to look at Jeremiah’s equipment recommendations on the event website.  The route is nothing short of brutal.

Ross in the Amish countryside | Photo by Joe Foley Photography: http://www.joefoleyphotography.com

David:

I had one advantage over my coworkers, Ross and Zach, going in to the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo – I had completed the ride last year. Yes, Zach and Ross had gone up to Harrisonburg for a special training ride with the host of the event, Jeremiah Bishop, but there’s nothing quite like riding the whole route and knowing how your body will react. Then Jeremiah went and changed the route! So it was back to square one for me – I knew how hard the first road climb and the last rolling miles into town were, but the whole middle of the ride (including the fearsome backside of Reddish Knob) was going to be a new experience. My only real equipment change from last year was rolling on a Stan’s ZTR Alpha Comp Road Wheelset, set up tubeless with Stan’s sealant.

At the start of the ride, I rolled along comfortably ensconced in the peloton with my coworkers – the pace was casual until the first big climb of the day. And that’s the last place I saw them until the finish line – Ross motored on up the road with the leaders, Zach started his battle to finish under the time cutoff for the glockenbell finisher’s medal, and I settled in to a comfortable place somewhere in between.

David climbing to Reddish Knob | Photo by Joe Foley Photography: http://www.joefoleyphotography.com

It’s always interesting on rides like this how quickly you find the group that is going your same pace – for the whole rest of the day I saw a rotating group of the same faces as the pack that crested the first climb near me – a moving mini-group within the group. The good news is that I felt better than I had last year – although for some reason the second dirt road climb felt even harder than before. I blame selective amnesia – 20% pitches on a bumpy dirt road will do that!

The highlight of the ride had to be the soul-crushing ride up the backside of Reddish Knob, a new addition to the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo route. I neglected to read up on this devious climb beforehand, so I was convinced that it was only 3 or 4 miles. Nope, that’s not Jeremiah’s style. Instead it was 9 miles of undulating dirt and gravel road, checkered with potholes, steep climbs, flowy mini-descents, and a finish high atop Reddish Knob with a stunning 360 degree view of the mountains.

Top of Reddish Knob

On this climb I experienced the high and low-points of my ride. The high point (other than the delicious rest stop food – Nutella, waffles and Orangina are my new favorite mid-ride snacks) was finding an extra burst of speed and power halfway up the climb, which found me flying by fellow riders and the expertly placed photogs from Joe Foley Photography. My low point came shortly afterwards, where I paid for my sudden acceleration with the most painful leg cramps that I’ve ever experienced – I was only able to soldier through by pounding down as many margarita flavored extra-sodium Clif Shot Bloks as I could stomach. All in all, it was another grueling, amazing and memorable ride (and my longest ride ever at 107 miles), and I can’t wait to give it another go next year!

David near the top of Reddish Knob | Photo by Joe Foley Photography: http://www.joefoleyphotography.com

Zach:

I’ve had a few weeks to digest the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo. The scenery, both beautiful and tranquil, provided a picturesque background in which to suffer.  The event was quite the experience.  There was almost every type of cyclist there.  Everyone from “fat bike” riders, to Radio Shack Nissan team pro Ben King, and of course, the emcee of the weekend, the man himself, Mr. Jeremiah Bishop.  Everyone had fun. Everyone suffered.  Everyone made new friends.  We suffered together, we laughed together.  There were long grinding climbs, world class descents, and hours of relentless focus.

As for me, I did what I set out to do.  Finish in under 10 hours – I did it in 8 hours and 45 minutes.

Every time I tell recall the experience, whether to friends or just in my mind, the more details I remember.  It’s as if it was an epic, suspenseful movie with ups, downs, twists, and turns.  Every time you watch the movie, you pick up on new things you hadn’t noticed the first time you watched it.  I remember the folks I had conversations with, where they were from and what inspired them to ride in the ALGF.  I remember suffering for hours, by myself, turn after turn yielding nothing but more elevation around the next corner.  I remember that pothole I hit at 38mph during a 15 mile descent around mile 80 that could have thrown me from the bike and thinking that, ‘I should try not to lose focus’. After all, I had ridden 80 miles and climbed over 10,000 feet  at that point in the day and my mind and body was fading.

Zach on the first climb of the day | Photo by Joe Foley Photography: http://www.joefoleyphotography.com

I could point out around 20 highlights of the weekend in general, but the two that stand out the most have to be the second climb of the day, and crossing the finish line.  The second climb of the day was 3 miles, 1400 feet, on gravel, with nothing but 15-20 percent grade stair step pitches.  Many people were walking up most of the pitches.  Somehow I managed to stay on the bike, and never walked at any point during the day. Epic. Finishing goes without saying.  It was just good to accomplish something that I had spent all summer thinking and training for.

All in all, this was the hardest event I’ve ever done in my life.  After three weeks I’m just starting to get my legs back.  I’m undecided as to whether or not I’ll try and tackle it again next year, but I highly recommend it for anyone looking to take their riding to the next level.  I did things on a bike that I never would have dreamed about when I first started riding a few years ago.  It was an event I’ll never, ever forget.  Thanks to all my supporters who helped me do it, and most of all, my wife!  From here on, I’m looking forward to bike rides to the park with the family, Spaten Oktoberfest, and the off season.  Oh yeah wait, there is no off season!

For more pictures of the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, check out the photo gallery on our Facebook page or take a look at the amazing photos from the pros at Joe Foley Photography (who were gracious enough to let us use their images in this post). Plus we want to give a special shout-out to all of the volunteers at the Gran Fondo, who did a great job of making everyone feel welcome all weekend long – and especially to Jeremiah and his wife Erin, who were gracious hosts for this great event, even if Jeremiah did poke fun at Zach after the ride:

Community Events: CicLAvia LA

Our Woodland Hills, CA store recently participated in the CicLAvia event in LA – a fantastic community event where cyclists and pedestrians take back downtown city streets for the day to ride, walk, mingle and otherwise enjoy roads that are normally packed with cars. Our team was there helping to fix flats and other minor repairs, and they sent in this report of the CicLAvia experience:

CicLAvia 2012 Los Angeles! This event was HUGE! CicLAvia made the streets safe for people to walk, skate, play and ride a bike. There were many activities along the route, as shop owners and restaurants opened their doors to people along the CicLAvia.

Ciclovías started in Bogotá, Colombia, over thirty years ago as a response to the congestion and pollution of city streets. Now it happens throughout Latin America and the United States, connecting communities and giving people a break from the stress of car traffic.

CicLAvia brought families outside of their homes to enjoy the streets, our largest public space. In Los Angeles we need CicLAvia more than ever. Our streets are congested with traffic, our air is polluted with toxic fumes, our children suffer from obesity and other health conditions caused by the scarcity of public space and safe, healthy transportation options.

CicLAvia created a temporary park for free, simply by removing cars from city streets. It created a network of connections between our neighborhoods and businesses and parks with corridors filled with fun. It was a fantastic and fun event that should happen in all major cities!

Spin Doctor Tech Tip: How to Adjust Front & Rear Derailleurs

Spin Doctor

Derailleurs… almost every bike has them, yet adjusting and installing these essential components still instills fear in many home bike mechanics. If you want to improve your derailleur-adjusting skills, head to your local Performance Bicycle store this Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. for our Derailleur Madness Clinic. Our Spin Doctors will provide expert advice on how to adjust, fix and maintain your derailleurs, plus an overview of the tools and products needed.

Spin Doctor P-Handle Hex Wrench Set

Don’t live near one of our shops? Pick up a set of hex wrenches (like our Spin Doctor P-Handle Hex Wrench Set) and a phillips-head screwdriver and queue up our handy How-To videos below. Each video offers a solid grounding in the principals and techniques you’ll need to get your derailleurs shifting smooth once again.

How to adjust a bicycle front derailleur:

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How to adjust a bicycle rear derailleur:

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Still need some help? Bring your bike by your local Performance Bicycle and let one of our Spin Doctor mechanics take a look, or get in touch with our Spin Doctor Tech Support team by email or phone – they are always ready to help with your technical questions.

Community Events: Hotter’N Hell Hundred 2012

Every year, thousands of riders swarm the town of Wichita Falls, Texas for the largest 100 mile bike ride in the nation. This year was no different, as the 2012 Hotter’N Hell 100 attracted almost 12,000 riders, plus racers for criterium races, mountain bike races, a USCF sanctioned men’s and women’s road race, a trail run, 10k run, and half marathon run – this is one busy weekend! The mid-90’s temperatures for the Saturday event were cooler than the past several years, when temperatures were well over the 100 degree mark.  Even though it was cooler this year, the wind picked up to over 20 mph during the day and blew straight into the rider’s faces as they rode the last half of their routes.  Performance Bicycle supported the event by providing a hydration and nutrition station at the Finish Line Village on Friday and Saturday.

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In addition, Spin Doctors from 3 of our Texas stores and our home office provided free mechanical services on Friday in front of the convention center and at 5 locations during the ride on Saturday.  The final rest stop on the ride was at Sheppard Air Force Base where 3 of our Spin Doctors were stationed.  At the Air Force base was one of the favorite on-route extras, the rows of Air Force recruits lined up on both sides of the road cheering for and encouraging every rider that rode past. Most of the day’s repairs were flat tires and derailleur tune-ups with a few broken spokes thrown in to test the quickness and technical abilities of our Spin Doctors. Our team had a great time getting out in the field and meeting friends old and new, and we look forward to helping out again next year! Check out our video highlights from our weekend at Hotter’n Hell below:

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