August 15, 2012 8 Comments
August 2, 2012 Leave a comment
With less than 10 days to go until the Leadville Trail 100 MTB Race, Performance Bicycle is getting into gear to provide mechanical support for the riders. Each year, 2000 riders compete in one of the most grueling endurance tests in mountain biking, and this year’s race marks the race’s 30th anniversary.
We have lined up some of our best Spin Doctor mechanics at the Twin Lakes Dam Aid Station to offer mechanical support for all racers. Jeff and Kyle will be at the Performance tent along with our friends from Lifetime Fitness. We can promise that this year’s aid station is going to have everything you need to keep you rolling on race day. After 40 miles of racing, it will be nice to see a familiar face waiting to tune up your bike.
Jeff brings 7 years of experience as a bike mechanic and countless hours on the trail. He once sold a bike to Robin Williams and is pretty funny himself. If you see him race day, ask to hear his stand-up routine. When he isn’t busy finishing college, Jeff loves ripping single-track or tearing up the bike park. His tip for keeping your biking running smooth on race day? Keep your chain clean and lubed.
Kyle claims he has been a mechanic since birth. This BMX Street style king has 5 years of experience as a bike mechanic and more advanced training than an astronaut. He has trained at Barnett’s Bicycle Institute, SRAM Technical College and of course, is Spin Doctor Certified. His tip: Learn how to change your own flats (unless you’re tubeless, of course).
The Twin Lakes Aid Station is at Miles 40 and 60. Stop by our tent for a quick repair or adjustment and make sure to keep an eye out for the Performance kits on course worn by our associates in this year’s race, Chris, David and Tom.
July 6, 2012 Leave a comment
Since Performance Bicycle was founded in 1982, we thought that today was a perfect time to look back at the Tour de France in 1982. With 6 time trials on the schedule, Bernard Hinault was the odds-on favorite to take his 4th Tour de France title (he had won in 1978, 1979 and 1981), as he had already won the 1982 Giro d’Italia. Other cyclists of note in the race were Gerrie Knetemann, Joop Zoetemelk, Johan van der Velde, Sean Kelly, and a very young Phil Anderson.
The race began, as expected, with an Hinault victory in the opening time trial in Basel, Switzerland. But after 2 road stages, Australian Phil Anderson sprinted to victory and the yellow jersey in Stage 2 and wore the leader’s jersey for the next 9 days (only the second time that the yellow jersey was not worn by a European).
Just to keep things interesting early in the race, the organizers through in a stage that passed over the cobblestones in northern France, documented in this short movie from French television:
As expected, Hinault took back the lead after the first time trial, even though he didn’t win the stage. After marking his opponents in the Pyrenees, Hinault won the short individual time trial of Stage 14 to expand his lead. In the Alps, Hinault again kept an eye on his closest competitors, after a short delay due to a farmers’s strike on Stage 16:
The final time trial win by Hinault made his coronation as Tour winner a formality, but Hinault wasn’t called the Badger for no reason. He responded to criticism that the 1982 Tour was “boring” by attacking the entire peloton for victory on the final stage on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, while in the yellow jersey!
May 29, 2012 Leave a comment
The 2012 Giro d’Italia is over, and what a final weekend it was! Ryder Hesjedal became the first Canadian to ever win a Grand Tour, while also snagging the first overall Grand Tour win for Team Garmin-Barracuda. It was such an exciting final weekend that we had to corral the highlights here on our blog, just so we could enjoy the battle for the Maglia Rosa one more time.
First up was Stage 20, which included an ascent of the fearsome Mortirolo before a finishing climb up the punishing, and legendary, Stelvio. Aided by his trusty lieutenant Christian Vande Velde, Hesjedal powered a select group of GC favorites most of the way up the Stelvio in pursuit of the surprising Thomas De Gendt – who threatened to gain almost five minutes on the chasing pack of GC men. Hesjedal closed the gap to De Gendt in the final kilometers, but a cagey Joaquim Rodriguez sprinted away near the finish to gain a precious few seconds in his quest to keep the Maglia Rosa.
On the Giro’s final day, Hesjedal lined up for the final time trial 31 seconds down on Rodriguez – but in a display reminiscent of Greg LeMond beating Laurent Fignon in the final time trial of the 1989 Tour de France, Hesjedal powered his way through the time trial to best Rodriguez by a scant 16 seconds in the final tally.
What a race and what a finale to the season’s first Grand Tour – there was drama, a great storyline, and the always impressive Italian scenery. Here’s hoping that the competition for this summer’s Tour de France will be just as exciting!
April 18, 2012 Leave a comment
Unlike recent years, we didn’t have the pleasure of suffering through the Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race in 2011. But since we missed on that epic 5 days of Pisgah Forest racing, we decided to send Christopher and Greg to Blue Ridge Adventure‘s Swank 65 race instead. Todd Branham has organized the Swank 65 race on for the last 13 years, and it’s a great opportunity to get a small taste of the huge trail network in the “Ranger District” of Pisgah National Forest.
Swank 65 covers about 38 miles of trail but the top pro riders still take well over three hours to finish, and many amateur riders are still trickling in after eight hours! Luckily for us racers, Todd had arranged to have New Belgium beer on tap and burgers served hot off the grill. Nothing gets mountain bikers to socialize quite like an epic ride followed by fresh burgers and great beer!
Of course we weren’t just there to race on the world’s best mountain bike trails, we were also there to put a new product to the test – namely Osprey Packs. We had read great things about their packs, but before we put something in the next Performance Bicycle catalog, we don’t just read reviews in magazines but instead test the products in real-world conditions.
To that end, our riders Christopher and Greg saddled up with Raptor 14 and a Viper 10 hydration packs for the race. Both bags feature Osprey’s 100 oz Hydraform Reservoir – able to hold plenty of water to make it from checkpoint to checkpoint. The Raptor 14 holds a bit more gear, which worked out perfect for Christopher as we was carrying a spare jacket and a GoPro camera. Meanwhile Greg enjoyed the slimmed-down profile of the Viper 10, which held just what he needed and nothing he didn’t.
So what were the standout features for our racing testers? Both packs feature Osprey’s awesome bite valve with a magnetic clip, which holds the hose in place even when decending Farlow Gap. Most importantly, both packs were extremely comfortable – an important feature since it took Christopher 5 hours and Greg over 7 hours to finish Swank 65. Also telling was the fact that their Osprey Packs were not alone amongst the other racers – it looks like the word is out to the mountain biking elite that Osprey makes some amazing hydration packs. In fact, at least a quarter of the packs at the race were made by Osprey. It was clear by the end of the day that Osprey makes high-quality and well thought out hydration packs and that we needed to carry them in our product lineup. Our racer’s recommendations were passed along to our buying team, who have added a full array of Osprey Hydration Packs. If you’re planning a big mountain bike ride this year, make sure you consider bringing along an Osprey Pack.
March 2, 2012 Leave a comment
We’re definitely cycling fans here at the Performance Bicycle home office, so we’re always excited for another weekend of pro cycling action. Yes, we know that there’s already been drama this year with the Alberto Contador case, but we still love watching the pros do battle out on the road – it inspires us to go out and push ourselves when we ride! And this weekend kicks off a flurry of pro racing, starting with some great European events.
First up, on Saturday, is the Strade Bianche in Italy. Last year Phillipe Gilbert won (and started his amazing season) this relatively new race that races across the fabled “white roads” of Tuscany and finishes in the hill-town of Siena. This race feels like a “new classic”, since it was inspired by the famous l’Eroica bike race – an amateur Gran Fondo-style event where participants ride vintage bikes and gear. Although the pros ride their 21st century technology, the Strade Bianche still has a fantastic combination of beautiful Italian countryside, a tricky climb to a finish on the main square of Siena (the same place where the Palio horse race is contested), and those infamous “white roads”, which are treacherous whether wet or dry! Gilbert will be back to defend his title this year, bringing along teammates Alessandro Ballan, Greg Van Avermaet, Cadel Evans and George Hincapie, while the likes of Fabian Cancellara, Christian Vande Velde, Johan Vansummeren, Dan Martin, Peter Sagan and Vincenzo Nibali round out a star-studded field of “all-rounder” riders. Check out the highlights from last year:
Is stage racing more your style? Then you can settle in to watch Paris-Nice, which starts on this Sunday and ends the following Sunday. Nicknamed the ”Race to the sun”, Paris-Nice starts near Paris and then winds its way south through the French countryside to the French Riviera (not a bad way to spend a week, if you’ve got the time). The first true stage-race test in Europe, Paris-Nice offers up a solid mix of rolling stages, mountains and time-trialling to find out who’s got good early-season form. Tony Martin will be back to defend his title, but his new teammate Levi Leipheimer will also be there to back him up. They’ll face a tough lineup of Grand Tour contenders, such as Frank and Andy Schleck, Andrea Kloden, Bradley Wiggins, Janez Brajkovic, Damiano Cunego, Christian Vandevelde (in back to back races), Denis Menchov, Ivan Basso, and Tejay Van Garderen. Check out highlights from Stage 5 of last year’s race:
Interested in more of a Spanish flavor for your stage-racing action? Then you’ll want to check out the Vuelta a Murcia, a short stage race that features a climbing stage on Saturday and an individual time trial on Sunday. Spanish favorites Juan Jose Cobo and Samuel Sanchez will be lining up to challenge for the title, but last year’s champ, Alberto Contador, will not be back to dominate like he did in the highlights below (although this result was wiped out as part of his suspension):
Finally, if mountain bike racing is more your style, then we’ve got you covered there too! The Mellow Johnny’s Classic will take place this weekend on a ranch outside of Austin, Texas. The first race of the USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Cross Country Tour, the Mellow Johnny’s race will be the first test for the array of racers battling it out for spots on this summer’s Olympic Mountain Bike teams. Contenders on the women’s side include Heather Irmiger, Emily Batty, Katie Compton, World Champion Catharine Pendrel, and defending champ Georgia Gould . On the men’s side, last year’s winner Max Plaxton will battle Todd Wells, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Jeremiah Bishop, among others. You can check out highlights of the 2011 race on Cycling Dirt.
Phew, kind of a busy weekend – just don’t forget to get outside and ride your own bike!
February 10, 2012 Leave a comment
It’s a new year and our stores have already been busy in their local communities – riding, racing and volunteering. With over 100 stores all across the country, we’ve got quite a few events and people to highlight from January, so read on below to see a sample of what they were up to last month. Remember to check out our local store pages for regularly scheduled Spin Doctor clinics & group rides.
To start this month’s recap, we thought we’d start by highlighting the new World Champion at our Newark, DE store! Katrina Dowidchuk, one of our store associates, won the Womens 40-44 division race at the Masters Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville, KY. We recently caught up with Katrina to hear more about the race, her training, and her advice for those thinking about racing cross. To read more, click here!
While we’re talking racing, we want to congratulate Jon Chambers, a bike builder (on the left above) from our Allentown, PA store. In the picture above, he’s holding trophies for the winning the PA Track BAR (or “Best all around”) stagiaire category and PA Track BAR Masters title. Jon also received 2 Silvers and a Bronze at Track Nationals this year, and won the 30-34 age group all around (you can tell he’s fast by the blurry photo – he can’t even hold still long enough for a camera!)
Sticking with our racing theme, a few of the associates from our Chandler, AZ store headed out to Fontana to race the Winter Series Downhill and Super D events. Here’s a shot of one of our tents set up as base camp at the race – Dennis from the Chandler store took 2nd in his Super D class (with a crash) and 27th in pro Downhill!
Performance Bicycle made the news in Texas, as Jeff, from our North Austin, TX store, and Shelly, from our South Austin store, were on the local Austin Live morning show talking trainers and indoor training. What do you think – Jeff’s got a future in TV if he ever gives up his bike gig!
Our Castleton, IN store was involved in a community event in Indianapolis, where they helped Brooksource with a team-building event where their employees built bikes for kids impacted by incarceration, in partnership with the U.S. Dream Academy. Our store manager, Tom, plus Jimmy and Brian, from our store team, helped supervise the build process and also donated a helmet for each of the kids who received bikes.
The Brooksource bike builders all had a great time and, considering the teams building each bike numbered about 6, they were surprisingly efficient at building! Our team completed the final bike safety checks just as the last helmet was being fitted.
Our guys helped build 13 bikes on site, had two pre-built, and got each kid fitted with their new helmets. The kids from the US Dream Academy were all surprised with their new bikes, and the build teams were just as thrilled to be able to present each kid with their new bike and helmet!
Associates from our Philadelphia, PA store participated in their local MLK Day of Service at Neighborhood Bike Works, a neighborhood bike co-op. Along with other volunteers, our 3 person team worked on projects to renovate and organize the space. They had a blast working with each other outside of their usual work environment, all while helping out a deserving non-profit.
Dennis and Adrian from our Chandler, AZ store, along with Adam from our Scottsdale store, broke out their work gloves last month to help Park Rangers with some trail-building on the South Mountain National Trail near Phoenix.
Here’s a picture from our Pittsburgh, PA store last month as they hosted their local Major Taylor Club (Major Taylor was one of the first American cycling champions, on the track and in 6 day races). All members of the club needed to get certified on road safety as part of a national program, so we turned our virtual training area into a powerpoint display to help them out.
Our Akron, OH store played host to a younger crowd last month, as they hosted a local Cub Scout pack for a clinic on basic bike knowledge taught by our Eagle Scout sales associate, Don. He taught them how to put the correct amount of air in the tires, how to clean a chain, and how to make sure that their brakes were working properly. Each scout left with a water bottle after answering a bike maintenance question!
Our Columbus, OH store held their own Cub Scout clinic in January as well, as a group of local scouts came by the shop. Our lead Spin Doctor, Mike, went over proper hand signals, tube/tire changes and basic maintenance to keep a bike in great shape. The scouts loved it and couldn’t wait for their chance to be tested about basic mechanical problems.
Of course we also held clinics for the big kids out there, like this Basic Maintenance Clinic in our Oceanside, CA store. Remember you can always check on our site to see when the next free bike clinic is scheduled in your local Performance Bicycle Store.
Our Cincinnati, OH store helped out with a fundraiser put on by a local elementary PTO. The carnival raised money for science and music programs at the school – our team at the event talked about bike safety and helmets while handing out water bottles to the hundreds of kids!
While the energy-filled youngsters spun their legs out on our kids bike display, we talked to parents about our Grow Up kids bike program. We had the opportunity to fit the kids on bikes, and we even got to give away 2 bikes to lucky raffle winners!
Finally, our stores have been holding indoor training classes, including our Novi, MI store. Above is a shot from their latest class – that’s the daughter of one of our regular customers leading the pack! Below is a picture of the training group at our Tucson Speedway, AZ store.
February 8, 2012 Leave a comment
For today’s product profile, we’re talking about Louis Garneau cycling gear. Founded in 1983 (incidentally, only one year later than Performance Bicycle), Louis Garneau has worked hard to create innovative cycling apparel, as they so aptly explain on their site: “It has and always will be our mission to conceptualize, design, and engineer technological products that will provide racers a competitive edge and recreational cyclists an improved experience.”
Of course one of the racers they were thinking about was Thomas Voeckler, leader of Team Europcar at the 2011 Tour de France. Here’s a shot of Voeckler during his gritty ride to hold on to the yellow jersey during Stage 18 of the Tour, on the slopes of the Galibier.
And just to show how passionate the Garneau folks are about their gear, look no further than this video ode to creating the special customized gear for Voeckler’s days in yellow:
Of course we said that we were going to talk about new 2012 Garneau gear, so what better place to start than with their Corsa cycling kit. As you can see below, the Corsa line was designed for ultimate cycling performance, with features such as the Aero Lazer Band at the arm and leg openings plus a “next to skin” fit so you can stay sleek and streamlined, and Carbon-X mesh for optimal muscle compression and support. The designers at Garneau even went so far as to use special Speed Tech shoulder panels to reduce frontal pressure and cut wind resistance while you are in a riding position.
The Louis Garneau Mondo kit includes many of the aerodynamic features of the Corsa line, including the Aero Lazer Bands and “next to skin” fit, along with nifty little details like a dedicated music-player pocket. The Equipe line of cycling wear is designed around an ultra-lightweight and breathable jersey, to maximize cooling, while the Equipe bib shorts offer a compressive fit (these shorts are a definite favorite around our office).
Like we said, the people of Louis Garneau are passionate about their work, and it shows in the details of their products. This passion can be directly traced back to the company’s founder, the eponymous Louis Garneau himself. A former elite cyclist, Mr. Garneau still plays an active role in the development of his company’s products, for, as he says, “Our innovations exist because we create products that function, perform, and are proven on the bike. We ride, we ride, we ride again, until we are certain a product will provide our customers a competitive advantage, and I have never removed myself from that group of test riders.”
As a final note, it was also interesting to learn that Mr. Garneau is a bit of an artist, creating a series of canvases as a fundraiser for the Fondation du Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec (although with his company’s emphasis on design, maybe this shouldn’t come as a surprise):