Now through October 13th is your chance to demo Orbea’s mountain bike lineup! The Orbea demo trailer is at the shop and contains the much talked about Loki 27+, Oiz, Occam and Rallon. Don’t take a rest day, take a test day!
There will be no charge to demo a bike and you can demo a bike for a full day on your favorite trails! We will require making a copy of your I.D. and credit card and you will need to sign a release form. Please contact us at email@example.com, call us at 801-364-0344 or swing by the shop to reserve a day on any bike listed below. We have complete size runs in almost all of the bikes.
With the temps dropping, it’s time to pull out the winter apparel to keep you comfortable well into the cold months. There are few companies (if any) as good at creating ultra-technical cycling apparel as Assos, and their outerwear is no exception. Now through October 21st, Assos is pairing their advanced, technical riding jackets and tights with their equally great gloves and booties. Their reputation as being the very best means its rare to find a “deal” on anything Assos – thus this is an amazing opportunity to kit up for winter. The promotion works like this:
Purchase any current Assos jacket and you will receive a free pair of Assos gloves from the equivalent climaRange.
Purchase any current Assos tight or knicker and receive a free pair of Assos shoe covers from the equivalent climaRange.
Meant for the worst weather winter can muster, the Assos Bonka climaRange will keep you toasty warm on even the most frigid winter days. * Select one of the following Assos “Bonka” jackets or tights, and choose a glove or bootie from the list to receive as a complimentary gift.
Meant for riding in late-fall and early-winter, Assos’ Hubu climaRange offers excellent breathability for high-tempo rides, with wind-blocking protection for warmth on crisp fall mornings, long descents, and bluebird winter days, where temps hover around freezing. The Habu is a shop favorite and an absolute go-to. * Select either the the Assos Habu jacket or tight, and choose a glove or bootie from the list to receive as a complimentary gift.
Layering is key to staying warm, but layering with the wrong items can be bulky and uncomfortable. Assos’ Tiburu climaRange is meant for days when warmers and a vest aren’t quite enough. The Tiburu range isn’t too heavy or light, it’s just right for spring and fall riding. * Select one of the following Assos “Tiburu” jackets or tights, and choose a glove or bootie from the list to receive as a complimentary gift.
Assos’ process for developing their proprietary fabrics is as advanced as it gets, so it’s no surprise to see their rain gear achieve the ultimate in protection from the elements. * Select one of the following Assos “ClimaX” jackets or bottoms, and choose a glove or bootie from the list to receive as a complimentary gift.
** Because of the various options Assos is offering, please purchase the jacket or tight that you want, and leave a message at checkout with the glove or bootie you would like to receive complimentary. With questions, please call or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.**
It’s that time of year again. Leaves are changing color, daylight is dwindling, sweaters are resurfacing and everyone is anticipating the first snowfall of the season! …What we’re trying to say is that Contender Camp is just around the corner!
This year you can register online, over the phone or in person at the shop. If any participants are interested in paying for all three blocks in advance, we’d again like to extend a special offer by including one lactate test free of charge. Once you have registered, your spot is reserved.
Already in our eighth season, the camp gets further refined every year. We will continue to offer a Saturday make-up/bonus class and as always the trainer room is open during the shop’s business hours for use by all Camp participants. Plus all your favorite instructors are back this year!
The Contender Camp has been known to…
turn you into lean, mean, pedaling machines just in time for spring riding
create a new and improved passion for cycling
forge friendships that last lifetimes (or until the next group-ride-grudge-match up Emigration)
It’s a little thing we like to call The Contender Consortium. The brain trust of Ryan boundless cycling and training, Dr. Eric Taylor and Blake’s knowledge and impressive backgrounds in sports physiology combine to make this camp the best training option in Utah.
How Does Our Class Work?
We take the latest science-based training principles, combine them with our lactate testing and state-of-the-art CompuTrainer facility for catered training parameters and accurate measurements of your cadence and power output. This is essential to get maximum results from your training time in class.
This scientific approach creates the ideal formula necessary to make the greatest improvements in our fitness. Our goal is to make sure you’re not just simply fit and ready for spring riding but to make sure that the fitness, knowledge and skills you’ve gained forge a more confident and better performing rider.
Split into three 6-week training ‘blocks’ or phases, each block uses specific training principles. This challenges Camp participants and helps us see improvements along the way ultimately motivating us to become a better cyclist.
But let’s not forget one of the best reasons to sign up for the class – the chance to meet cyclists who are motivated to stay fit, to work hard and to have fun during those chilly winter months. Plus our expert staff and the legendary playlists keeps you motivated for the entire 90 minute workout.
To sign up for the Camp Special or just for Block I & your initial lactate test, please see the Class Schedule below for a direct link to each time slot and registration option.
BLOCKS OF TRAINING
BLOCK I: WED, NOV 2 – THU, DEC 15 (THANKSGIVING BREAK – NOV 23 & 24)
BLOCK II: MON, DEC 19 – THU, FEB 2 (HOLIDAY BREAK – DEC 23 through JAN 1)
BLOCK III: MON, FEB 6 – THU, MAR 16
INDIVIDUAL 6 WEEK BLOCKS: $280.00
INITIAL LACTATE TEST: $100.00
FOLLOW-UP LACTATE TESTS (if desired to reestablish training zones): $100.00
CAMP SPECIAL: $840 (all three blocks and one free lactate test)*
*First time participants MUST have a lactate test prior to the start of camp. For those seasoned veterans, please feel free to use your lactate test at any point throughout the camp. It is important to have at least one lactate test during camp to properly monitor your progress and optimize your training.
Blake Vatne will again be doing all of the lactate testing at Contender Bicycles. Please feel free to set up a time with him during the month of October before classes begin. Please note we recommend establishing your training values before the start of camp and, if needed, retest once during camp to reestablish values in order to maximize your gains and foster continual growth throughout the classes!
For additional information, please feel free to contact our shop (801.364.0344) or email Blake at email@example.com. If you are interested in a class that is full, please email Blake so he can put you on a cancellation list.
WHY TRAIN BASED OFF OF LACTATE THRESHOLD VALUES?
WHAT IS LACTATE?
For half a century, lactic acid has been considered the cause of muscle fatigue and burning sensation during high intensity exercise. In the body, lactic acid is present in very small amounts even in resting condition. Most of it is dissociated as lactate. The most recent theory on lactate metabolism and exercise is that lactate is a great way for the body to “move” energy between cells. We also know that lactate doesn’t cause fatigue but correlates to it. Lactate can also be used as an energy source. Studies show that without lactate recycling we would need to carry a 150 lb backpack of ATP to complete a marathon. The rate of production and reutilization of lactate stays equal up to the individual reaching their lactate threshold. Lactate threshold is the point where the rate of production exceeds the rate of reutilization of lactate. After this point, excessive lactate begins to build lowering blood pH and resulting in muscular fatigue.
WHY LACTATE TESTING?
Lactate testing allows you to see exactly how the body is responding to the muscular stress you apply. Using a hand held blood lactate analyzer along with power output data from the Computrainer, your training zones can be established to maximize the effectiveness of the training. In other words, your lactate values and your power levels help map the zones that will stimulate the greatest fitness gains.
HOW IS A LACTATE TEST PERFORMED?
A lactate test is performed using a hand held lactate analyzer, heart rate monitor, and a Computrainer displaying power output. When a test is performed there is a standard warm up of 10-15 minutes. This warm up increases your muscles temperature allowing the reactions for energy production to be faster and more efficient. After starting the test at a predetermined workload, intensity is increased every three minutes until you go just beyond OBLA (on set of blood lactate utilization). During each phase of the test, heart rate, perceived exertion and blood lactate level are taken along with current power output. Normally this takes around 15 -20 minutes.
HOW ARE BLOOD LACTATE LEVELS MEASURED?
Using a hand held analyzer, blood lactate levels are determined using a pen-point sized blood sample on a disposable chip. The small drop of blood is taken from the earlobe using a sterile, disposable lance. Once testing is complete, the lactate analyzer readings and power output levels are imported into a graph. This graph helps to understand how you body responds to different levels of work and aids in determining your “intensity zones”. These zones are much more effective to use over heart rate zones based on formulas related to age or maximum heart rates.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF POWER BASED ZONES OVER HEART RATE TRAINING?
1. Heart rate changes dramatically with temperature.
2. Heart rate is affected by diet and hydration levels.
3. Heart rate lags increases or decreases in the actual workload.
4. Heart rate does not accurately allow you to see when you are riding in an anaerobic state. In short, the combination of power and heart rate provide a clearer picture of how your body responds to your effort.
CYCLING CAMP STAFF
Our cycling camp staff brings a unique approach to indoor cycling training. With Ryan and Dr. Eric Taylor having worked closely together to develop our program, our staff shares the same theories and practical approach to training. We believe in using a science-based approach to make you a better athlete.
Ryan brings to the camp over twenty years of experience in the bicycle industry. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Ryan started bike racing and working in the industry at the age of sixteen. As a cyclist, he competed as a top regional rider with success on a national level both as a rider and a manager. Ryan helped develop and manage the most successful team to have ever come out of Utah. What started as a team of up-and-coming local riders turned into a launching pad for several of today’s top American professionals including Dave Zabriskie. With an honors business marketing degree from the University of Utah and over twenty years of bicycle industry experience, Ryan has built Contender Bicycles into what it is today.
Eric has extensive experience as a physiologist, coach, and athlete. Eric has a PhD in physiology, completed a postdoctoral fellowship in muscle metabolism and exercise physiology at Harvard Medical School, and is a currently a professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Iowa. His research on mitochondrial metabolism was recently published in the prestigious journal Science. Eric has broad coaching experience with all levels of runners and cyclists. Eric competed as a track athlete for Brigham Young University, running the 800 and 1500 meters. He currently competes as a Category 3 road cyclist and also races cyclocross. Although Eric now calls Iowa home, expect to see him from time to time out on the Utah roads.
Drawn away from his native Minnesota by Utah’s big mountains and deep winter powder, Blake chose the University of Utah to earn a BS in Exercise Physiology. Blake has worked at Contender Bicycles throughout college. Since graduating in the spring 2010, Blake has taken on an integral role in organizing and managing the Contender Camp throughout the fall, winter and early spring months. Besides being a great skier, Blake is an equally enthusiastic cyclist who enjoys riding on both the road and mountain bike. Blake is also very interested and knowledgeable about nutrition, so we at the shop often seek out Blake’s advice when choosing nutritional products.
As we head into fall, temperatures start to cool off and the best riding is ahead of us. Unfortunately, along with Fall comes shorter daylight hours. This means that if you ride before or after work, or at times to avoid the full heat of the sun, it is imperative for your safety on the roads and trails that you ride with lights.
When deciding what light to buy for riding, it’s important to determine what the main objective of the light will be. Is the main purpose to help you be seen in traffic to other cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists? Or is the main purpose to illuminate the road or trail so you have a clear view of what is in front of you? Or do you need the light to do both? Once you determine the objective of the light, this will help guide you in your choices in variations of LED lights, lumen strengths, and also what beam pattern the light will cast.
At Contender, we try to squeeze a ride in any time we can. We are huge fans of riding on the trails at night. It’s a whole different experience than riding during the day, and quite simply, it is a blast. Whether waking up early morning to get a ride in on the road before the shop opens or hitting the trail when the sun goes down after the shop closes, we are always prepared with bike lights to help us ride safely. Here are our top picks at Contender for bike lights for mountain and road riding:
Top Picks for the Mountain
Light & Motion TAZ 1500: Putting out a whopping 1500 lumens, double that of a standard car headlight, this light has you riding in full light on the trails at any time of night. Even more impressive is that for the immense light it puts out, the TAZ 1500 weighs just 216 grams. Designed to mount on the handlebars, the TAZ 1500 gives 180-degrees of visibility with a 45-degree arc relative to your movement. You will have a wide view of the trail ahead, helping you to easily anticipate obstacles and direction changes. You can use the TAZ 1500 for touring or commuting with its settings for 750 lumens, 350 lumens, and Flash, so you can be seen as you ride without blinding someone heading in the opposite direction.
Helmet and Handlebar Mounted
Light & Motion URBAN 800: Requiring no tools for installation the URBAN 800 can mount to your handlebars or your helmet according to your preference. Small and compact and perfect for commuting, the URBAN 800 weighs only 121 grams. With its ability to crank out 800 lumens, however, it is also strong enough to illuminate the trails at night. The URBAN 800 has 180-degrees of visibility and a reflector system to give evenly dispersed light across its entire beam. This means obstacles both near and far will be fully illuminated, giving you time to plan your line and not hold back on the trails. In addition to the High 800 lumen mode, the URBAN 800 also has a Medium 350, Low 175, and Flash mode.
Top Picks for the Road
Front Lights to See
Knog Blinder ARC 640: Weighing in at just 150 grams, the Blinder ARC 640 blasts up to 640 lumens out in front of you to illuminate each curve of the road for a safe, smooth ride. It uses an elliptical beam of 16-degrees vertical and 24-degrees horizontal, with evenly dispersed light that maintains consistent brightness throughout its specified run-time. In addition to its High 640 lumen mode, it also includes Medium and Low steady modes, and a Flash mode, for times when you want to increase your visibility without blinding oncoming traffic. The Blinder ARC 640 is versatile in its mounting, easily attached to handlebars with two tool-less, removable, silicone straps or to a helmet with an included mount.
Front Lights to Be Seen
Knog Blinder Mob Eyeballer: To make your presence known to surrounding traffic on the road, the Blinder Mob Eyeballer pumps out a bright 80 lumens of light up to 1,000 meters while weighing just 35 grams. You can choose between five modes (two steady and three flash) to alert others to your position, depending on what your ride conditions call for. It uses tool-less, removable straps to easily attach to any handlebars, even Aero or Oversize bars. It also was smartly designed with a longer button push to prevent against any accidental turning on of the light, helping to extend the time between battery recharges.
Knog Blinder Road R70: At first glance, what is most impressive about the Blinder Road R70 is its unique, sleek design. More than just a pretty light, however, the Blinder Road R70 also puts out a strong 70 lumens of light at just 52 grams, as it makes your presence known to those behind you. It has five different modes (two steady and three flash) for you to choose from depending on your ride conditions, and projects light to the sides to make sure you are visible at all angles as you ride. It uses easy-to-use interchangeable seatpost mount straps that are even compatible with Aero seatposts, so you have no excuse not to be riding without the Blinder Road R70 for your safety.
Knog Blinder Mob V Mr Chips: With a name that references its unique Chips On Board (COB) LED technology, this light can put out 44 lumens at a weight of just 39 grams to increase your safety on the roads. It has a 120-degree beam and reflective faceplate that not only makes sure you are visible from the rear but also from the side as well, making you visible up to at least 1.2 kilometers away. It uses three interchangeable straps so you can swap the light between different sized seatposts, giving you no excuse to ride without it. You can choose between the light’s five modes (two steady and three flash) to best alert surrounding traffic to your presence on the road.
Blackburn Click USB Rear Light: This will be your go-to, no-frills light that provides simple, but reliable performance on the road. Simply press down on the front lens, and the light illuminates to alert traffic behind you that you are on the road. It provides basic features that all our suggested lights do including being waterproof, USB rechargeable, and having a charge indicator. This LED light includes a very stretchable silicon mount attachment for easy, tool-less installation, so there is no fuss when its time to put the light on and ride. Additionally, there are a bunch of fun colors available.
Two-for-One Front and Rear Light
Blackburn 2’Fer: When you’re having a tough time choosing between front and rear light options, the Blackburn 2’Fer will kill both birds with one stone, weighing just 18 grams. With the ability to work as either a front or rear light, the no-frills 2’Fer pumps out 60 lumens on Front mode and 20 lumens on Rear mode, so you can stay visible to traffic when darkness is falling. It has both steady and flashing modes for Front and Rear, and uses tool-less installation on your handlebars or seatpost. If there is a chance you’ll be caught riding when the light is fading, the Blackburn 2’Fer is a smart choice to carry with you so you can guarantee your visibility.
There are a lot of choices on the market when it comes to choosing between bike lights. Our concern at Contender is that whatever time you are riding and whatever light you are using, you are always visible to others and always have a clear view of the road or trail ahead of you. Give us a call or visit us at the shop to have us walk through our selection of bike lights with you to make sure you get the lights that best suit your cycling needs.
Looking to score a great bike at a really great price? We have over 200 bikes including a large fleet of Scott scratch & dent bikes and Cannondale show bikes. Select from a huge range of bikes from junior to road to mountain to cyclocross at close to 40% OFF.
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Now that the Tour of Utah has raced through our great state it is time for what is arguably our biggest cycling event of the year, LoToJa. On September 10th, 2016 the 34th edition of this one-day challenge will take place on the roads between Logan, Utah and Jackson, Wyoming. Covering over 200 miles with an impressive 10,000 feet of climbing, the route represents a big day in the saddle for any rider. And if that isn’t tough enough, LoToJa is organized as a race, slotting its 1500 participants into categories competing for the fastest times. Knowing that many of you will be rolling out at this year’s LoToJa we are here to offer some simple tips to make the distance a little easier on you and your bike.
For the rider: During training you have most likely discovered your favorite flavors of hydration mix and nutrition, stick with these! There is no reason to experiment while pounding out the miles on during the event. Just remember that all of the old rules still apply; drink before you get thirsty, eat before you get hungry and rest before you get tired. Following these rules will keep you fresh as the hours tick by. Also, remember to consume a lot of water along with your sports nutrition, this aids digestion and keep stomach cramps at bay. All of the gu and chews are great to keep sugar levels up, but you will need real food and calories to keep you going all day. Plan any rest stops around consuming plenty of food to keep you going. We would recommend eating a huge breakfast the day of as well.
For the bike: Now is the time to get your bike sorted for LoToJa. The basics like lubing the chain and checking the tires are always key. After all of your training you may need new brake pads or tires too. If you are experiencing any issues with shifting it is best to get those taken care of now, that way any new cables or parts have a chance to “break in” before being subjected to 200 miles in one day. You definitely want to avoid riding a bike with any squeaks or creaks as they are indicative of worn parts that need maintenance. Of course the great mechanics at Contender Bicycles are here to help make sure your bike is in top notch shape for this year’s big event. We’ll leave the riding up to you.
Summer is in full swing and with it comes the peak of the cycling season. Around the Salt Lake Valley, the hottest days of summer can hover around a blistering 100 degrees (and this year we have had way too many days over 100 with no end in sight). With scorching temperatures comes the necessity of wearing appropriate cycling clothing to comfortably carry you through the heat as you ride. Of utmost importance is your choice of jersey. The right jersey will help you stay fresh and dry during a long endurance ride whereas the wrong jersey choice can leave you drenched in sweat and fighting dehydration.
With countless options of jerseys to choose from, it can be hard to know what to look for when shopping for the right hot summer jersey. To help you as you shop, we compiled a list of features to consider when deciding on which jersey will best help you beat the heat of summer riding.
The best summer jerseys use technical materials that are masters of wicking moisture away from your body to the surface of the jersey’s fabric for quick evaporation. This allows you to stay comfortable and dry and without fear of catching a chill should the wind pick up and catch you drenched in sweat. In addition, pay attention to the fabric placement. A lighter material that is vented at the back and side panels of a jersey, for instance, will increase air circulation and keep your body breathing instead of suffocating under too much material.
Long, summer days in the saddle can mean hours of prolonged exposure to the sun. Many jerseys use lightweight fabrics that are easily passed through by the sun’s harmful UV rays. This can leave your back susceptible to a nasty sunburn and long term damage to your skin. To mitigate this risk, many manufacturers have started producing jerseys with SPF and UPF ratings. Alternatively, look for a jersey that can accommodate a sun protective base layer comfortably beneath it, so your back is not left exposed to the sun.
It doesn’t matter how well a jersey breathes if it doesn’t give you the right fit. Over the course of a long ride, an ill-fitting jersey that rubs and irritates your skin can suck all the joy from your ride. Be sure to know the purpose of your riding to narrow down what you’re looking for. For instance, a racing or aero jersey will fit much tighter through the body and arms than a relaxed jersey that uses a more generous cut for rides that are more leisurely.
Extra details can come with an extra price, but there are a few details you should pay attention to when purchasing a summer jersey. A nice zipper down the front of a jersey will help you control how the jersey ventilates, while rear jersey pockets should be sturdy and easily accessible. To keep yourself covered at all times, a rear silicone hem will keep the jersey in place as you move in the saddle, and reflective details are important when riding at off hours in low light conditions when you’re trying to avoid the heat of riding under a full sun.
Now that you know what to look for when shopping for a summer jersey, here are our favorite jerseys here at Contender for riding in the hot, Utah summer:
For long endurance rides, it is hard to beat the Assos ss.cento jersey and its dialed-in fit that we’ve come to expect from Assos. Designed around a cyclist’s position in the saddle, the fit of the jersey stretches and contours in all the right places whether you’re in the drops or up on the bars. The jersey uses Assos’s low volume and highly breathable Type 145 fabric to skillfully control your body temperature. The fabric varies the speed of moisture transport from your body, speeding up when you’re working hard sweating but slowing down as you cool down and need more insulation to stay warm. A full-length front zipper and mesh panels under the arms also help keep the jersey ventilated and your body temperature regulated. The jersey includes three lower back panel pockets, a zippered pocket for valuables, rear reflective visibility stripes, and a silicone hem at the rear.
While it’s the lightest jersey in Giordana’s collection weighing in at only 90g, the Sahara won’t leave you unprotected like other lightweight jerseys when you’re pedaling up the climbs. It uses a woven ceramic material with UV protection at its front and back panels so your skin won’t burn as you ride beneath the intense sun. It also takes special care to keep your body cool and breathing with lightweight mesh at the shoulders and sleeves. Plus sleeve cuffs finished with a soft turned-up edge to feel gentle against your skin. A full-length CamLock front zipper adds further customizable venting while three rear pockets with a pocket lip for protection keeps your small items safe and secure and easy to access as you ride.
When riding at dusk or dawn to avoid the heat of the midday, it’s imperative to stay visible on the road. The Craft Glow Jersey does just that with its highly designed reflective print across its chest and upper back. It uses a cooling, polyester fabric to draw moisture from your skin to keep you dry and your temperature regulated, with bodymapped mesh inserts in particularly moisture prone areas for extra breathability. The fabric also contains just the right amount of elastane to give the stretch you need moving both in and out of the saddle. A wide, soft elastic band keeps the jersey firmly in place with a silicone print at the back, while three rear pockets give you plenty of room to carry your riding essentials. The Craft Glow Jersey is available in both a men’s and women’s option.
We are partial to the Contender Bicycles Elevation Jersey and Classic Jersey not just because they bear our name, but also because they keep us cool and ventilated when climbing up the Utah canyons that the Elevation jersey proudly highlights. Made from super lightweight fabric with advanced fibers and construction, the jerseys are highly breathable while blocking cold air and moisture from coming in. This allows your body temperature to be effectively regulated when riding in the heat. A full-front zipper and mesh side panels allow for further ventilation when the weather is particularly muggy. The jersey contains UV protection to protect your skin from burning in the sun and its antimicrobial properties keep you smelling fresh no matter how much sweat is dripping.
Finding the right summer jersey for your riding style is ultimately a personal choice. Our main concern at Contender is that you’re riding as comfortably and confidently as possible out there in the heat. Give us a call or come visit us at the shop to let us walk you through our selection of summer jerseys. Let’s take advantage of riding in this warm, sunny weather for as many miles as possible before winter hits and we’re begging for the heat once more!
With LeTour in full force, it is that time of year where there seems to be a onslaught of discussions about race tactics and strategy. The TV coverage allows us to watch things play out and we get to hear some critique on what went down. With a week left in the race, I figured I’d share a few of my thoughts.
Despite a stage win and some time in the yellow jersey, BMC seems to be off to a less than awesome Tour with their so-called two-leader system. It was quickly evident on Stage 2 that there is confusion at BMC. When Richie Porte flatted with just over 4km it was obvious that he was on his own for the finish this day. After a neutral wheel change that took an eternity, he took the chase up on his own for some time before finally getting some help. BMC is strong enough, they’re stacked enough, to have guys deliver the GC guys to the 3km “safe” mark and a couple more to keep the pressure on to set up some stage win aspirations. Instead, BMC burned up most of their matches by 6-7 km to go in order to set up a shot at the stage with Greg Van Avermaet leaving the GC guys relatively unprotected. When no teammates stopped for Porte and the team car passed him too, I’m sure Richie went into “going to do what’s best for me” mode for the rest of the race. Only a few stages later this was evident as Porte found himself riding at the front with Froome and Quintana on his wheel as Tejay was barely hanging on in the next group. If these guys were working together, Porte would have followed or attacked those guys, but never just ridden at the front to extend the gap to the chasing group.
As the Tour entered the mountains a storm, named Froome, quickly put most GC contenders on their back foot.
The second thing that seems really obvious this year is that there are a lot of guys/teams who are content to race for second. This is something that became the norm in the Armstrong era and it continues when a rider as good as Froome shows up with a team as good as Sky. The formula is proven. On the first stage when taking time is possible, piledrive the competition and steal a minute. It sets up a very boring competition for second place. The only difference this year is Froome took some of the time with a surprise attack on a downhill finish. Everyone keeps calling for a Quintana or Aru attack and I’m sure that will come. It is hard to understand how hard it is to attack after a 100km of hard riding by Vasil Kiryienka, Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard is followed up with some in-your-face tempo on the climbs by guys like Gerraint Thomas, Mikel Nieve and Wout Poels. I doubt Froome could attack himself after all of that. So how do you go up against this? The challengers (BMC, Movistar, Astana) need to put Sky on the defense early in a hard stage. It might take some collusion as they don’t need to just throw a wrench into Team Sky’s plans; they need to throw a hammer. They should race like the finish is on the first summit of a four summit stage. Blow it up early and see how the pieces settle out. Get riders up the road and then have your GC guys ride aggressively from behind. If third place is going up the road on a climb, the guy in second needs to let Froome/Sky stay in charge. If they falter, second place stands to benefit and take some time. If they don’t, chances are pretty good that everything stays the same.
Finally, it seems like the traditional “lead-out” train is a bit different these days. The teams are so good, and there seems to be a bit of parity among teams like Quickstep and Lotto. The train that starts at 4km out and delivers their rider to 300m just doesn’t happen anymore. Between the fight for the front with the other sprinters’ teams and the GC riders’ team trying to get their riders to the 3km mark makes it almost impossible for a team to take total control like they did back in the Cipollini days. This year it seems like that in the last 1500m, at least four teams take over the front of the race for a short period of time. In my opinion, and results would agree, this puts the thoroughbred guys like Griepel and Kittel at a disadvantage and favors the snappier/quicker guys like Cavendish and Sagan. These explosive guys need one or two teammates to move them into position, a bit of luck in not getting jammed-up, and they can sneak in and pick up the pieces as the big teams wear each other out. This is compounded by the fact that there seems to be more turns in the last 3-4km this year. Should Cavendish ride into Paris, it will be interesting to see how he fairs on the Champs, in what is traditionally a bit more of a horsepower contest, without Mark Renshaw. We’ll see if Sagan can match Cavendish’s four stage wins or if the stage will go to one of the monster-mashers.
Staying comfortable in the saddle is a never ending battle. Over the years this has especially been the case for women. For years female cyclists were stuck with wardrobe options geared towards men, making their search for functional yet comfortable clothing incredibly frustrating. Recently, manufacturers have taken notice of the growing number of female cyclists and now offer a great selection of female-specific cycling apparel.
Women’s cycling apparel has come a long way in improving a woman’s cycling comfort. However, not every garment is equal. There is a lot of room for personal preference when choosing between female specific garments. This is really apparent when choosing between traditional riding shorts or bib shorts. Without a jersey do bib shorts make it look like you are wearing a unitard? Well, maybe. But at Contender we think that the added comfort offered by bib shorts for women is worth it, and here is why:
MORE COMFORT AT THE WAIST
Bib shorts eliminate the need for a restrictive waistband. The elastic waistband of traditional riding shorts not only causes “muffin top”, it can also hamper your breathing and cause stomach discomfort. Wide, yoga waistbands may offer some relief from these issues, but not the full relief that bib shorts offer. By relying on straps to hold the shorts in place, bib shorts put no pressure on the waist, allowing you to breathe and move without restriction.
BETTER CHAMOIS PERFORMANCE
With constant movement and the accumulation of moisture, the chamois of a traditional riding short can sag over the course of a ride. Without the reliable performance of a precisely positioned chamois, you’re at risk for chafing, hot spots, and overall discomfort in the saddle. In contrast, straps on bib shorts offer more overall garment support, including the chamois, keeping it stable and in place throughout the duration of a ride.
NEW BIB STRAP DESIGN
In previous bib short designs, the straps were placed right over the most sensitive areas of a woman’s chest, causing a lot of discomfort. Recent designs, however, have taken care to take into account the curves of female bodies. At the shop we carry the Giro Chrono Expert Halter Bib, which scraps the use of traditional shoulder straps for a halter design, using lightweight mesh to spread pressure across the entire chest and not just in specific areas. We also carry the Giordana SilverLine Bib Short, which takes care to place the shoulder straps around and not directly on top of sensitive areas of the chest. Our favorite at the shop is the Assos T.laalalaishorts S7 bib shorts. With an easy to reach front magnetic front clasp in the center of the chest, the design eliminates straps over sensitive areas and makes adjustment and fitting of the bib extremely easy.
FULL SKIN COVERAGE
Compared to traditional shorts, bib shorts have a higher cut above the waist. So when you are in the drops or stretching your arms overhead, there is no worry of exposing your backside or belly to the eyes of an innocent passerby. This eliminates mid-ride jersey tugs and adjustments, helping you to stay focused on your ride and protects you from sun exposure in the wrong place.
ADDRESSING RESTROOM BREAK CONCERNS
This is by far the biggest reason some women prefer to ride in traditional shorts despite all the comfort benefits of bib shorts. When you want to use the restroom, many female riders understandably find it a nuisance to take off their jersey in order to drop their straps. For us, this nuisance is small price to pay for hours of improved comfort riding. Additionally, several manufacturers have created bib designs that allow you to undo your straps without having to disrobe. Our favorites at the shop include the Giro Chrono Expert Halter Bib which has enough stretch to easily pull up and over a helmet and the Velocio Signature Fly bib shorts which use a rear zipper for easy bathroom breaks without bothering with your straps at all.
Ultimately, it is up to the individual rider to weigh the pros and cons and decide what shorts offer the most comfort and convenience for their riding style. At the shop we carry a large selection of both traditional riding shorts and bib shorts for women. Visit or call to have us walk through our selection with you. It’s our goal to have you as comfortable and confident as possible out there riding.
The Tour de France is upon us and that means it is time to root for your favorite riders in Contender’s Tour de France pool. This year we are taking on a fantasy league vibe. It is simple, fun and points will be on the line for every stage. Plus there are great prize packages for whoever accumulates the most points and finishes 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall! Enter by posting a comment with your picks on this blogpost. You must submit your picks before the Tour de France starts this coming Saturday, July 2. Here is how it works!
You pick your squad. Choose nine riders who you think will win stages and the jerseys at the Tour. It is up to you! Pick climbers, pick sprinters, a time trial ace, an escape artist or whomever you think could potentially win a stage or finish on the final podium. Fill your team with riders from any team that will give you the most total wins! Each stage win receives 2 points. If a rider on your team wins the Yellow Jersey or is 2nd or 3rd overall, you will receive 9, 6 and 3 points respectively. With one of your riders winning the Green Sprinter’s Jersey you’ll receive 4 points and for the Polka Dot Climber’s Jersey you’ll receive 6 points!
SIMPLY SUBMIT A COMMENT BELOW, WRITE 9 RIDER FANTASY TEAM and then LIST YOUR 9 RIDERS!
Best of all here are the prize packages! The winners will be notified via email after Le Tour ends and points are tallied!
1st PLACE PRIZE PACKAGE
Your choice of Kask Protone helmet
Contender Bicycles Gear – 1st Place Goodie Bag
2nd PLACE PRIZE PACKAGE
Your choice of color and model Uvex 810 or 202 variomatic sunglasses
Contender Bicycles Gear – 2nd Place Goodie Bag
3rd PLACE PRIZE PACKAGE
Your choice of color and size Giordana Men’s or Women’s Fusion jersey
Contender Bicycles Gear – 3rd Place Goodie Bag
*choice of product is limited to in stock product at Contender Bicycles
Salt Lake City has earned itself a reputation for being perhaps the best city in America for accessing the outdoors. With too many ski resorts to count within an hour drive, some of the best rock climbing in the world and an innumerable number of other options from hiking to bird watching or fly fishing, it is really hard to disagree with the accolades. Needless to say, and we admit we are a bit biased here at Contender Bicycles, the greater Salt Lake area is a cyclist’s paradise (and that isn’t even taking into account the rest of the state). We love it so much we made video featuring just a small sampling of the local riding.
For those new to town, new to riding or just hoping to get a ride in during their next visit check out some of our favorite local rides below.
There are three major points of contact when riding a bike, namely your hands, feet and seat. And the more time you spend riding the more important these three become. Each of these can be improved individually for the best fit, function and comfort while pedaling. To begin with, shoes and pedals are fairly easy to figure out as the old adage applies “if the shoe fits, wear it.” With a variety of brands and styles to choose from there are a lot of options for cycling footwear. Besides specific footwear for mountain or road riding, brands such as Sidi and Giro also offer narrow and wide shoe widths to best fit any rider’s foot. Different closure systems such as ratcheting buckles or twist-lock mechanisms add convenience and allow on-the-fly adjustment. As most riders will experience some swelling in their feet during long rides so they choose a shoe that offers a little more room in the toes to accommodate this. In addition, additional arch support through footbeds is something many riders consider.
On the front end of the bike there are numerous options for grips and handlebar tape. Many mountain bikers and commuters opt for the ergonomic grips which provide support for the palms, such as those by Ergon or shock-absorbing silicone grips, such as those by ESI or Fabric. For your road bike, the bar shape is probably the best starting point. Wing shaped bar tops and shallower drop bars have recently gained popularity. To wrap the bars, there is wide range of choices with various thickness and material to help will let you dial in comfort for your hands. For those looking for a bit more comfort, gel padding or a second layer of bar tape (often seen on the pro’s bikes during the cobbled spring classics) can be placed on the bar first before wrapping with new tape although this added comfort comes at the cost of added weight and for some a disconnect with the bike. Popular choices are a wing-shaped road bar with thick and tacky tape by Fizik or Lizard Skins which can offer great grip with extra cushioning. Of course good gloves are a crucial element here with long fingered and short fingered gloves coming with everything from thick gel padding to no padding at all.
Now onto the most subjective of these three, the saddle. There are literally hundreds of good saddle choices available to any and all cyclists. However, there are millions of cyclists so there definitely is not a “one size fits all” solution to saddle comfort. A good rule to follow, when you don’t like your current saddle, is to look for a new one that has a different shape than what you’re using. Basically, no amount of padding will make an ill-formed saddle work well. We have found that the best route to a more comfortable seat is to try a few before you buy. At Contender Bicycles we offer our Saddle Test Ride program with many of the most popular seats from Fizik, Fabric, Adamo, PRO and Selle SMP.
The best way to address these points of contact is with a proper bike fit, as this will give you an expert opinion on what it will take to make your bike both more comfortable and efficient. There are many ways of going about a fitting with most starting with the shoe/pedal interface and working up from there. As avid cyclists we are big fans of using shoe and pedal combos to better connect rider to bike. Being “clipped in” not only creates an efficient pedal stroke it also helps in isolating your body position and finding the best location for your saddle. Once the saddle is properly in place you and the fitter can go to work on finding the best location for your hands on the bars. Many of us have previous injuries or other physical issues that can be easily addressed in the fitting process making our time on the bike more enjoyable.
At Contender Bicycles in addition to offering a free fit with most bike purchases we are pride ourselves on helping customers walk out with the perfect bike, not necessarily the stock bike. While manufacturers often use more neutral saddles and select bar widths based on the frame size some riders find themselves needing to make changes immediately. In these instances we are happy to work with you to pro-rate the value of the parts you need switched out for those that will help you get the most out of your riding.
Please feel free to come by the shop if you have questions on any of these points of contact.