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2014 Tour Wrap Up: Nibali Didn’t Crash (But He Also Won)

 

Vincenzo Nibali, stepped down from the podium in front of the Champs-Elysees on Sunday a champion.

He had lead the 2014 Tour for every single stage less two, he’d won four of it’s 21 stages, and his lead of 7-minutes and 37-seconds was the biggest margin of victory held in the Tour since Armstrong’s win (now officially not a win) in 1999. Nibali is also now one of only a handful of riders that has won the Giro, the Vuelta and the Tour –all three of the Grand Tours.

Regardless of all this, some look at Nibali’s win as simply a result of better rider’s bad luck with crashes and injuries early in the Tour.

Bradley Wiggins, who won the Tour in 2012 was passed over by Team Sky because they wanted to focus on Chris Froome, the 2013 Tour winner. When Froome crashed out along with Alberto Contador, it was suggested that Nibali was just the best of what was left in the peloton.

However, even before their unfortunate crashes, Nibali had a two-second lead on Contador and Froome after he won Stage 2. When Froome crashed out in Stage 5, Nibali put more than 2 minutes between himself and Contador. When Contador’s unfortunate crash occurred on a downhill in Stage 10, Nibali went on to win the stage as it climbed to a ridiculously steep mountain finish atop La Planche des Belles Filles. Nibali then went on to win two more mountain stages across the Alps and Pyrenees.

It’s pretty obvious that Nibali didn’t simply ‘slip’ into a spot made empty by the unlucky crashes of some talented riders. The Italian is a true talent himself. Maybe now he’ll get some respect.

AP Photo/Christophe Ena

AP Photo/Christophe Ena

Point is, we’re excited to see him next year. Complementi Vincenzo Nibali!

The Tour’s official website popped out this little video highlight reel of the 2014 Tour. Take a look:


EN – Best of 2014 – After the race by tourdefrance

Throwback Thursday: Now With Mullet Power!

Ahhh, the mid-90s. When pagers were the move, Mel Gibson was still just a closet anti-semitic, and TLC didn’t want us to go chasing waterfalls.

Check out these pics Alison found of Ryan from 1995. And just like O.J. in a white Bronco, Ryan’s killin’ those Brikos (too soon?)

But who’s the gentleman on the left, the one particularly excited to never take off his Oakleys and sport a….mullet??

Is that future Vuelta champion and Tour rider Chris Horner? Yep.

And even back in 1995, a mullet was probably not the latest in hair steez. C’mon, Horner. He probably hadn’t upgraded to Windows ’95 yet either.

Ryan & Horner

plate wfilter

Why Our Customers Are the Best

We know we’re damn fortunate to have so many good friends and acquaintances that continue to come in and support us, year after year. We work hard to keep your business, and it’s satisfying to see so many of you come back.

Nothing is better than when a customer of ours comes back in to let us know how much they’re enjoying their new bike.

Truly, one of the best parts of what we do is when we make new friends here.

About a month ago we were lucky enough to have Giuliana come in and pick up a bike. Although she’s convinced she was one of our hardest to please customers, we’re going to put that anxiety to rest right now and let her know that she absolutely, categorically was not.

Being Italian, she’s definitely passionate, and that’s a good thing because that passion has translated to loving and riding her new bike.

It also means she’s an artist.

Giuliana came back in last week not just to let us know how enamored she is with the new bike, but to drop off a ridiculously cool plate she made (and some chocolate on top of it that was gone in a matter of minutes) as a thank you.

Look at this thing:

The coolest plate ever. Be jealous, my friends. Be very, very jealous

The coolest plate ever. Be jealous, my friends. Be very, very jealous.

Sellin' n' servicin' bikes and gettin' plates dedicated to us. It's just what we do.

Sellin’ n’ servicin’ bikes and gettin’ plates dedicated to us. It’s just what we do.

We just wanted to publicly say thanks to Giuliana for the truly impressive gift -it’s now displayed prominently and proudly on our wall.

And we want to let all of you know how much we appreciate being your favorite friendly neighborhood bike shop.

Thanks to all of you for making this a great place to be.

cody hero

Staff Infection: Cody Wignall, aka The Big Wigs (VIDEO)

FACT: Being a Contender all-star is probably one of the best things you can do with your life. And our very own Cody Wignall is a shining example of this. The young man started at Contender when he was a mere 16 years old. Now, seven years and seven bikes later, he’s become one helluva Contender employee. The kid knows everything!

Let’s get to know the guy behind the guy behind the guy.

How did you happen to start at Contender so young?

I started riding road bikes a little and knew Ryan from the shop rides. When I found out I had to do community service for my high school and that doing flat repairs and learning the ropes at Contender would actually qualify, I jumped on board. When I turned sixteen, they took me on full time and I’ve been here ever since.

Cody and one of his favorite TIME frames, the VRS Vibraser. Look how happy he is.

Cody and one of his favorite TIME frames, the VRS Vibraser. Look how happy he is.

So this is literally the first job you’ve ever had?

Job? You mean I’m not still doing this as community service?

You are. Don’t expect a paycheck. Forget what I said.

Gotcha.

Moving on….how long have you ridden? 

I started riding a road bike and showing up to the group rides in 2002. But I’ve been on a mountain bike forever. Everyday, after school, I’d try and do wheelies.

Do you ride road or mountain more? 

I prefer mountain. I hate cars and the bad drivers that drive them….badly.

How many bikes do you own? 

I have seven bikes, two classic Schwinns: a Stingray and a Collegiate, a cyclecross bike, a Pugsly snowbike, and then a couple mountain bikes and a road bike.

Do you have a favorite? 

The Pugsly -it turns heads.

Cody's favorite bike, his Pugsley. He calls it Pugs. we call that totes adorbs.

Cody’s favorite bike, his Pugsley. He calls it Pugs. We call that totes adorbs.

YOU turn heads, my friend. Where’s your favorite place to ride? 

I love riding Flying Dog in Park City. It gets you out of the way of everyone and there’s a beaver dam you ride past too. Pretty sweet stuff.

 

Cody showing off his Pugsley with Ryan and Alison.

Cody showing off his Pugsley with Ryan and Alison.

 

So what do you do when you’re not riding or [cough] volunteering at the shop? 

I do a little photography, I hike with the wonderful Emily [girlfriend], I’m taking business classes at SLCC and Blake is trying to teach me how to cook.

So what are some of your favorite things we carry? 

Anything TIME. I used to have two: a VRS Vibraser and a VXS. The new Skylon looks amazing.

I really Like Assos Clothing. I was lucky enough to visit their North American headquarters last month. I’ve always been a big fan but I think their stuff is pretty unique in the cycling world. They really innovate. I like their style too. You can tell a rider wearing Assos from a mile away. The T.equipe bib shorts are awesome. They’re the best bib short I’ve ever ridden in.

Cody refused to model these Assos T.equipe bibs.

Cody refused to model these Assos T.equipe bibs.

And I think Rolf Wheels are awesome too. They’re such a good value and it’s a great wheel. My favorite is the Vigor. For the money, it’s a good option because it works so well with the terrain we have here in SLC. It’s bullet proof and it gives you some aero ability too. Good wheel.

Cody does his best to dramatically present his favorite wheel: the  Rolf Vigor.

Cody does his best to dramatically present his favorite wheel: the Rolf Vigor.

But truly my favorite things at Contender are Ernie and Graham [Contender mechanic and proud new father -profile forthcoming]

To sum up, It’s just Graham. Zane’s a close second, though.

Anything else the people need to know? 

I’m part of a Schwinn gang. We like to cruise around downtown on the weekends.

Do you ever get into any gang fights or turf wars? 

No. We do bar spins though.

How close have any of you come to getting a tattoo of ‘Schwinn Gang 4 Life’ across your back? 

One of Cody's infamous Schwinns. If you see someone doing a wheelie on this bike, chances are it's the Big Wigs

One of Cody’s infamous Schwinns. If you see someone doing a wheelie on this bike, chances are it’s the Big Wigs

Not. Not close at all. That’s idiotic.

Ok, Wiggs, let’s cut the crap, time for some hard hitting questions: Rumor has it you’re really good at sax. 

Excuse me?

Sax: The saxophone. My sources tell me you can really blow. 

Yeah, well, I play sax on sax on sax on sax

Like Kanye? 

No, he makes stacks on stacks on stacks on stacks. Totally different.

So are you a sexy sax man?:

Yes. I’m the embodiment of everything sexy about the sax.

Any nicknames? 

My original nickname in the shop was Captain Wiggles. I think I’ve graduated to Big Wigs now.

Fitting for the man who is godfather to Ernie, Cyrus and Leo

I needed something commanding. The mutts respond to authoritative titles.

Cody showing off his wheelie skills. And our Contender kits.

Cody showing off his wheelie skills. And our Contender kits.

Have you ever considered staring in your own brand of motivational speaking videos?

No.

I have the perfect tag line.

Lay it on me.

Picture it. Lights are dimmed in a packed conference hall. Spot lights scan the stage.You jump out from behind a giant poster of your head, playing an especially sexy sax solo. As the music swells and the audience’s applause becomes a deafening roar, you turn to your audience and say, “Dig the Wigs”.

What ensues thereupon can only be described as pure pandemonium. The Wigs is big, the Wigs is very, very big. 

It’s perfect.

Print

Need a New Helmet? Have We Got A Deal For You!

Come in to Contender this Thursday, July 17th from 5pm until 7pm with your old, beat up (or beat down) helmet and get 25% off any Lazer helmet.

Look, we know a few of you have some nappy helmets. This is your chance to turn that embarrassment in to cash!

Our good friends at Lazer are going to be taking all the helmets traded in and completely recycling them.

That’s right! Any helmet that’s cracked, faded, or just ridiculously worn out can be traded in to be recycled and you get 25% off a gorgeously brand new Lazer Helmet.

We have old Lazer favorites like the Genesis and Helium as well as the brand new, super posh Z1

Even if you’re not in the market for a new lid, this is a great way to get rid of an old helmet and make sure it’s recycled.

So go grab your nasty old helmet and come see us this Thursday, from 5PM to 7PM!

contadorcrash

The Tour So Far: Crashes, Casualties, and Unrequited Love (VIDEO)

PHOTO: Christophe Ena/AP

There’s a reason they call a rider’s attempt at the Tour a campaign, it can get bloody.

Already this year the Tour has suffered some heavy casualties. No doubt before the peloton rolls past the Champs-Elysees in a couple weeks, there will be more.

With Mark Cavendish crashing in the first stage, defending champion Chris Froome retiring his campaign during Stage 5 after having three crashes in two days and Alberto Contador out yesterday from a wreck that resulted in a broken tibia, it looks like current race leader, Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali is staring at a very possible Tour de France win.

-If he doesn’t crash or lose some crazy time in the Alp stages ahead.

Nibali’s two-and-a-half minute lead in the GC means a lot of folks are calling the Yellow Jersey his to lose.

Vincenzo Nibali is the current leader of the Tour. Photo: courtesy of London Evening Standard

Vincenzo Nibali is the current leader of the Tour. Photo: Courtesy of London Evening Standard

Since the focus of the Tour so far has been crash after crash after crash, we might as well take a look at some of the Tour’s biggest crashes in the past couple years:

Now, if the Italian does succeed in finishing first in Paris, there are already rumblings that he wouldn’t have really ‘earned’ his championship because of all the mayhem that plagued the first part of the Tour and the key riders that were taken out to let him slip into that yellow jersey a little more easily.

Nibali must be feeling like he gets no respect.

A feeling crystallized when he was denied a kiss by one of the podium girls after winning Stage 2:


Who doesn’t want to kiss an Italian?? Maybe if he wins the Tour she’ll give him a hearty pat on the back.

I guess we’ll see how well Nibali climbs in the Alps.

Skylon_Red

First Pics of Brand New TIME SKYLON And All The Deets You Can Handle

Skylon_White

Whenever the French wizards over at TIME tell us that they have a new frame coming out, the reaction is not unlike that emitted from tween girls at a Beiber concert -usually a lot of screaming, fainting and crying with joy.

What can we say, we’re huge nerds fans when it comes to anything TIME.

Why? Because their frames are handmade works of art that also happen to sport some ridiculously impressive technology.

Named the Skylon, TIME’s new flagship is lighter, stiffer, more aero and sports a host of other truly remarkable features. Utilizing TIME’s strenuous RTM process (a manufacturing anomly in an industry obsessed with mass production and minimal labor investment), the new Skylon is built from a single piece -a change from previous TIME models that had the rear triangle butted into the main frame.

Speaking of the chainstays, the TIME Skylon is also sporting a new asymmetrical, monobloc chainstay constructed to increase rigidity and power transmission from hard working legs.

Infact, it seems like every trick TIME could use to stiffen the frame has been utilized. The larger tubing cross sections help quite a bit, not only by bettering strength and rigidity, but by allowing TIME to make the Skylon lighter as well.

TIME also lowered the Skylon’s headset bearing height by one-and-a-half inches, increasing stiffness and creating explicitly precise steering as well. For a brand that already handles like an F1 driver’s dream, that’s saying quite a bit.

And to that effect, TIME hasn’t forgotten their carte de visite; a ride that is stiff and responsive but still unbelievably smooth and refined. The Skylon utilizes Vectran fiber throughout the frame to keep things civilized when the road gets rough. Rest assured, however, that when an open road with a gorgeously winding decent presents itself, the Skylon will be begging to let it show you what it was built to do. If it were me, I’d listen.

TIME has also made the frame mechanical and electronic ready, with both options being routed internally.

Other notable features that round out the highlights are the Skylon’s carbon dropouts, a BB386 bottom bracket size and a zero offset aero seatpost.

Expect you’re favorite friendly neighborhood bike shop (aka: Contender) to have some frames available in the next couple of weeks in the matte white and gloss red color schemes pictured here.

As more frames and colors become available, we’ll definitely be the shop to call when that voice in you head starts to whisper ‘Skylon…’

ernie smiling

Staff Infection, Adorable Edition: Ernie

For those who don’t know, Ernie is part of the canine trifecta that likes to hang out at Contender. About two years ago, Ryan and Alison rescued him with the help of the good people over at CAWS and the West Valley Animal ShelterAlison says that although Ernie was a ratted mess who seemed to have suffered a little too much neglect and outdoor living when animal services picked him up, he’s definitely living the high life now. I was impressed with Ernie the first time his huge ears and tiny body wobbled towards me and sniffed my leg. Talk about a little dude with a lot of personality. Amongst those in his elite inner circle, a common comparison made is between him and Yoda. I figured I’d sit down with the tiny fellow and a bag of treats to shoot some questions his way….

Like a king looking out from his throne, Ernie's keeping an eye on Syrus and Leo. Ernie notes that he, "jumped up there myself."

Like a king looking out from his throne, Ernie keeps an eye on Cyrus and Leo. Ernie notes that he, “jumped up there myself.”

So what kind of dog are you?

Hmm. Great question. I lead. I’m a leader and I’m a risk taker. I bark at reps I don’t like, I bark at bigger dogs and I’m constantly trying to jump onto things that I shouldn’t. That’s what I call risk. I mean, have you seen how small I am? Every dog is bigger than me. Have you seen my legs? I like to think I’m pushing past my limits. I like to look at things other dogs tell me I can’t jump onto, and then jump onto them. Or get someone to pick me up and put me on them. I’m pretty persuasive like that. Naturally the ladies love me.  Did you say you brought treats? Someone said you had treats. That’s honestly the only reason I’m here.

No, I meant, what breed are you?

Oh, right, I’m a corgi and something smaller. Not really sure. But let’s get back to the ladies. Like I said, they love me. I can’t help it if they’re like, OMG, that’s the cutest corgi ever. I’m always like, OMG, then give me some treats and let’s see how comfy that lap of yours is, mama. It’s my curse, really. That and these infernally short legs. But like I said, I make up for it. Like, right now I can tell you want to give me treats and scratch my back. Look how cute I am.

[Fighting the urge] I gotta keep this professional, buddy.

Dude, give in. Everybody does. Just love on me.

Let’s talk about special talents. I’ve heard you can poop while walking.

Really? It’s going to be that kind of interview, huh? Ok, so maybe that happens. I get excited, everybody does. It’s just that I tend to poop when I get excited. Can’t help it.

Is it true your ears go back when you’ve done something wrong?

I didn’t know I walked into Frost/Nixon. What are you, a lawyer?  Yeah, my ears go back a little. Who’s don’t? You’re telling me you’ve never walked through the living room and pooped, Ghandi? You’re going to sit here and tell me your ears didn’t go back when they caught you?

Ernie claims he has his learning permit. I've yet to uncover any documentation to prove or refute this

Ernie claims he has his learning permit. I’ve yet to uncover any documentation to prove or refute this.

Can’t say I’ve pooped in the living room, chief.

Right, stupid humans and their stupid indoor plumbing and stupid rules: “You’re dripping pee on the bed, get off. Stop barking at the vacuum. Don’t drink from the toilet” Well I’ve got news for you, I leak a little, the red suck-monster scares the crap out of me -literally. And here’s the best part, I CAN’T BLOODY REACH THE TOILET, OKAY?!

[ Long pause]

You alright? We need to take a break?

Did you want to wear me down? I told myself I wouldn’t do this [audible sniffle] -get emotional like this. My god man, you cut to the heart of it don’t you? That toilet thing just gets me. It’s a harsh reality of my life. I sit by and watch the other two, the taller ones [Cyrus and Leo], get all the free and interesting water they want from that shimmering porcelain grail. Imagine the barbarity as they walk by, the sweet sweet dew of success literally dripping off their smug chins. Me, staring up, asking, hey friend, what’s it like? What’s it taste like? It’s a vicious joke. [ heavy sobbing ]. I’m gonna need a treat.

Speaking of your size, A lot of people are surprised you can make it up the stairs.

A lot of people are looking to get their a** kicked. Treat, please.

I’m sorry little guy. I think we need to reset. Here’s a treat. Let’s talk about something a little happier. I heard you’re a big fan of the Strider bikes we have in the shop.

sobbing stops as he eats his treat ] Yeah….I….love those things.[ sniffle ] They’re the perfect size for me. I’m a big fan of Sigma Computers too.

One of Ernie's favorite pieces of gear at the shop: The Strider push bike.

One of Ernie’s favorite pieces of gear at the shop: The Strider push bike.

Why’s that? 

They gave me a hat. And treats.

Ernie's shameless promotion of Sigma cycling computers.

Ernie’s shameless promotion of Sigma cycling computers. Which we carry.

Rumor has it you might be training for your first triathlon. Care to comment? 

Ha! Where’d you hear that? I don’t really think I can comment on that right now.

So you’re saying the recent picture of you in a tri singlet is just a coincidence? 

ernie contender singlet

Where’d you get that? My publicist said he wasn’t putting that out yet. [to his entourage] Someone get Syd on the phone. And get me another treat. [turns back to me] Look, I’ll just say I dabble. I’ve been training. I do a lot of hot laps around the helmet displays at the shop.

Speaking of dabbling, do you always pee in the same spot? 

I’m glad you mentioned that. No. I like to mix it up. Sometimes I’m a carpet guy, other times I really appreciate the way a puddle looks on a quality hardwood -maybe cement. I like to think I’m thoughtful enough to appreciate that stuff. It’s probably why I get so many treats. Do you have more treats? Also, when I go outside, I like the way grass tickles my belly. It’s crazy relaxing. Kind of a Zen thing, you know?

What if the grass is damp? I heard you don’t like getting your paws wet. Some have even described you as a ‘metrosexual mutt’, is that accurate? 

It’s not inaccurate. Let’s say nicely quaffed, that’s better. I guess haters gonna hate. I’m gonna need a treat.

Who are your heroes? 

I know the PC thing is to say Lassie or Snoopy or whatever. But I’m going with James Brown. He was short, but he was the godfather of soul. I like to think I’m the dogfather of funk.

So you listen to a lot of James Brown?

At the end of the day, I like to just curl up with my boys, put on some James Brown, and think about the ladies, their laps, and the treats I’ve had.

Ernie and Syrus getting cozy

Ernie and Cyrus getting cozy

Well I think we’ve learned a lot today. Thanks for sitting down with me. You want me to lift you up so you can drink from the toilet? 

Yeah man, I do. It’s time daddy drank from the promised land.

MartynAshton2

Paralysed Martyn Ashton Inspires Homage (Video)

PHOTO: Courtesy Bike Magazine

Last September, Martyn Ashton, the legendary UK mountain bike trials rider and former World Champion, was finishing work on his second short film of trials style riding on a road bike, Road Bike Party 2 (embedded below), when a fall from a platform ten feet off the ground left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Falling backwards off a platform during a trials demo at the Animal WD40 Action Sports Tour, Ashton was airlifted to a local hospital where he spend the following six weeks recovering from the accident. In the interim, he grabbed some friends to help him finish the stunts in the video, which he edited and released earlier this year.

It’s pretty #$%&ing rad:

It turns out Ashton’s awesome stunts have inspired some folks out there. Especially a dude from Italy named Vittorio Brumotti, a trials star himself, who’s done his best to pay homage to the infamous Ashton by putting together his own little piece of road bike insanity that he just released:

Pretty amazing stuff to be riding around a working quarry, jumping onto bulldozers, and not even having to wear an orange safety vest. Italians are the coolest.

Brumotti is a big fan of Ashton. In fact, Brumotti says that, “Martyn was one of my inspirations and I was a huge fan of everything he did on Road Bike Party. My new film is my dedication to Martyn’s work.”

Brumotti is right to pay the man such high regard. All it takes is one look at Martyn Ashton’s Facebook posts, where he’s currently inspiring folks to try something that gets them out of their comfort zone before July, or even reading over a couple quotes about his accident and how he’s dealt with the aftermath, to realize he’s a particularly rare person. I’ve long held the belief that trials riders have a supreme ability to look at something -whether it’s terrain, an object, or a ridiculously precarious drop- and allow themselves to think positively enough about it that they pluck up some courage and go for it! Where most of us see an absolute no-pass-nightmare and go pedaling in the opposite direction, our heads full of self-doubt and negative talk, trials-minded folk will smile, hop on their bike and give it a shot. How would it be to have that outlook on things? I can’t help but think that attitude is helped Ashton during his recovery from the fall. It seems like it’s continuing to serve him well now with his new endeavors.

No doubt it’s been an adjustment, but judging by the photos of him hitting a velodrome on a hand cycle, swimming, rowing or trying out some canoeing, you can’t really say Ashton has slowed down.

All of us at Contender are huge fans of this guy. We’re excited to see what he does next.