Hone your skills with Bart Gillespie & Ride with Mark Weir!

Crankworx Rotorua,  New Zealand.




TIME: 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM (choose from three 2.5 hr demo sessions)

LOCATION: Park City, UT (Deer Valley Resort)

Contender Bicycles would like to extend you an invitation to participate in Cannondale’s Lefty Tour. Whether you choose to participate in one of two skills clinics from local mountain biking master Bart Gillespie or want to head out on a ride with pros Mark Weir and Ben Cruz, simply come join us!

To find out more about the event on Saturday, September 5, visit Cannondale’s Lefty Tour website.

Space is extremely limited for each demo session. To sign up for your spot, please go the RSVP page.

Learn more about Mark Weir & the all new Cannondale Habit trail bike.Learn more about Mark Weir & the all new Cannondale Habit trail bike.

Tour of Utah Kickoff Party & Sale Preview!

Meet the Drapac Cycling Team as they prepare to compete in the Tour of Utah. We will be raffling off ZIPP goods including a handlebar, seatpost and stem. We will also have a signed Drapac team jersey and other World Bicycling Relief swag. All proceeds will benefit World Bicycling Relief. This will also be a great time to preview the bikes we will have available for our Parking Lot Sale the following day!

Check out www.worldbicyclerelief.org to learn more about the BUFFALO bikes that are distributed throughout rural Africa.

When: Friday July 31st 5-7PM
Where: Contender Bicycles
Who: Pro Riders from Drapac Pro Cycling, and you!

Based out of Australia, Drapac Pro Cycling is a UCI Continental team. With some great podium finishes this year at the Tour of California, Drapac is looking to further make an impact on the professional cycling scene in the United States. Come and wish our friends good luck!


Contender Tour de France

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 the Contender Bicycles blog underneath the post “Fantasy Tour de France”.  You must submit your picks before the Tour de France starts this coming Saturday, July 4. Here is how it is going to work!

You pick your squad. Choose nine riders who you think will win stages 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. So fill your team with riders from any team that will give you the most total wins! Each win receives 2 points. Of course we can’t forget the final podium. Pick the Yellow Jersey, 2nd and 3rd overall and you will receive 9, 6 and 3 points respectively. Pick the Green Sprinter’s Jersey for 4 points and Polka Dot Climber’s Jersey for 6 points!



Best of all here are the prize packages! The winners will be notified via email after Le Tour ends and points are tallied!

Your size of Assos T.neoPro_s7 Bib Shorts
Contender 1st Place Goodie Bag

Your choice of color and size Giro Atmos Helmet
Contender 2nd Place Goodie Bag

Your choice of any Tifosi Clarion Lens Sunglass
Contender 3rd Place Goodie Bag

Any questions? Email Contender’s Race Official Cody at cody@contenderbicycles.com.

The Contender Cyclist Spotlight – J.R. Celski

We’re starting a new feature on the blog where we will occasionally highlight some of the great folks that walk through the door of the shop and give you a glimpse into their life and why they enjoy cycling. We’re calling it the The Contender Cyclist Spotlight. We are starting it off with a bang getting to know J.R. Celski who is a 3 time Olympic Medalist, 2 time Olympian and World Record holder in the sport of Short Track Speed skating. J.R. has a decorated history in the sport as he started skating at the age of 3 and began competing nationally at the age of 6. He moved to Salt Lake City in the fall of 2008 to join the US National Short Track Team and made his first Olympic team in 2009 after suffering a laceration to his left quad. J.R. made his second Olympic team in 2014 where he would go on to win a silver medal in Sochi, Russia. He underwent hip surgery in the fall of 2014 and is currently recovering and training to compete again. J.R. spends a lot of his time riding a road bike since it’s great cross training for speed skating. Recently, J.R. rode home from the shop on a new TIME bicycle. Let’s find out more…


Q. When did you first get into the sport of cycling and what attracted you to it?

A. I first started cycling in 2004 in Southern California. I was introduced to it by a former coach. It is a common cross training platform for speed skaters to build a strong cardio base early in the season. I loved it immediately after starting!


Q. How would you describe yourself as a cyclist?

A. I like to think I’m somewhere between a climber and a sprinter. Not stronger at one more than the other, but can hold my own on both fronts. I prefer climbing and long 3+ hour flat rides in big groups.

Q. Name your top two favorite rides. Why are they favorites?

A. My favorite rides are Emigration Canyon in Salt Lake and the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) from Long Beach to Laguna Beach in California. I love Emigration because it is a climb you can make as hard or easy as you want depending on what your goals are. The last part of the climb is just hard enough to whet the appetite a little bit. I grew up riding the PCH so it’s very nostalgic for me. It is a fun ride because you’re right on the coast, and usually there is a nice tailwind going south that you can cruise with for miles. Enjoy it while you can because the headwind will crush you on the way back in!


Q. Do you have a favorite spot for pre or post ride treats or coffee?

A. Not anywhere in particular, but I love me some Reeds Extra Ginger Brew and a huge homemade pasta with ground beef and lots of vegetables after a ride. Hits the spot every time.

Q. What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of cycling?

A. I think one of the most challenging aspects of cycling is technique. As a speed skater, I spend a lot of time correcting my technique and learning the proper mechanics to be more efficient on the ice. Cycling is very similar in the sense that the more efficient you can be with pedal strokes, body position, and shifting, the more energy you will have when you need it. Another simple yet important aspect I find challenging is properly nourishing and hydrating before, after and especially during rides! 4 hour rides + low on liquids in the bottle, not a good combo!


Q. If you could give someone getting into cycling any piece of advice, what would it be?

A. I would first give the advice to learn how to properly clip in and out of the pedals in a parking lot or on a quiet neighborhood street. I recommend doing this before showing up at a group ride with your friends and pulling up to your first busy intersection not knowing how to do it. A recipe for disaster if you want to learn the hard way. Also, be patient! Like anything in life, it takes practice to get to the point of being comfortable and confident on the bike.

Q. What motivates you to ride?

A. Knowing that I have the opportunity to get better and improve upon my weaknesses. There’s so many things I know I can do to be a better cyclist, and every time I ride is the next time I’ll be able to go out and do them. Also, the sense of fulfillment after completing a tough ride. There hasn’t been a time yet where I’ve gotten back home and said “I regret going out on my bike.”

Q. Do you follow any competitive cyclists or teams? What races excite you?

A. I follow Team Sky and BMC pretty close. I definitely look forward to the Tour of Utah every year. You can find me on Capitol Hill cheering them on.


Q. Do you participate in any organized cycling events whether it be racing, touring or advocacy?

A. I haven’t participated in any cycling events thus far, but it’s only a matter of time before Ryan or someone else at the shop convinces me to come out and embarrass myself!

Q. What is your favorite thing about cycling in Utah?

A.  I love the fact that you can choose from several different canyons that vary in difficulty, and are all unique in their own way. The elevation changes and the altitude make it challenging and always keep it interesting. I also love the sense of openness and proximity to nature I feel every time I ride. Living in Salt Lake definitely has it’s perks for cycling. Lots of bike lanes, canyons and flat rides to choose from.


We all share a similar passion for cycling. At Contender Bicycles, we are excited to learn more about cyclists in the community and share their experiences with everyone. To learn more about J.R. visit his website and follow @celskeet on Instagram!

Giro d’Italia Viewing Party & Group Ride – This Sunday!


Join us this Sunday morning, May 24,  for a viewing party of Stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia followed by a ride up Emigration and Big Mountain. This particular stage of the Giro finishes on the legendary Madonna di Campiglio climb which should provide an exciting battle!

VIEWING PARTY STARTS AT 7 AM – Please enter through the north door of Contender Bicycles and head up to our training and fitting area. You are welcome to join at any time! There will be coffee, juice and beignets to consume and enjoy during the race!

Former professional cyclist Jeff Louder will be joining us for the viewing party and ride. Having participated in the Giro d’Italia, Jeff will provide a lot of great insight and insider knowledge of the race.

Following the race (at approximately 9:30 AM), a group ride will depart to ride up Emigration and Big Mountain. Following a regroup at the top of Emigration, riders can either continue to Big Mountain or call it a day and head back down the canyon.

Electric Bicycles at the Utah State Capital & DEQ

Recently a good friend of mine, former Salt Lake Mayor Ted Wilson, asked me if I’d be interested in showing off the Stromer E-Bikes to the folks on Utah’s Capital Hill. Ted had recently purchased a Stromer and had immediately moved it into to his “primary vehicle” position in commuting around the north end of the valley 25-30 miles a day. Within a few weeks, his excitement for the E-bike movement was contagious! I might have caught this “buzz” from him, but then I am pretty sure he caught it from me. Ted works for a group promoting clean air in Utah at the same time he works for sustainable practices that will make our city a better place. With that in mind, Ted has embraced the E-bike and is on a mission to see others catch the fever. I was glad to be asked to be a part of it.

Before we went to the capital, Ted explained some of the places where E-Bike just makes sense. I had my own experience of where the E-bikes can come in handy. For me, I run a lot of errands on the E-bike It also is a great way to go out to dinner or to head to a Utes game or go to the farmers market. Ted explained the “last mile problem” that our local transit system faces. While we have Trax and an average bus system, it is likely you have at least a mile to go on one end of your commute. The E-bike can help solve this and downtown’s growing parking nightmares at the same time. Then there is the “fleet style” opportunity. Think of all the folks dropping off Capital Hill to go downtown or to the City & County Building. The Capital is a beautiful place, but a hard one to walk or ride to. For each Nissan Leaf that state owns in an effort to provide clean transportation for it’s people, they could own six E-Bikes. It might be fair to argue that a green car isn’t all that green if there is only one person on board when you look at the entire picture.

Ted and I met at Contender to ride up to the Capital. It was fun to catch up and here all the things he has done with his E-bike. We gave ourselves plenty of time (30 minutes or so) to get over there and we took the scenic route up Memory Grove. We still arrived with 10 minutes to spare. If we had rushed, I’m sure our travel time would have been well within 10 minutes of a car taking the most direct route. Our first group of visitors was a small group from the Utah Transit Authority. I could see they were interested, but I could also sense some doubts. No problem, a test ride would cure that. And it sure did. Each member went out on one the E-bikes we had with us and within about 20 seconds each one said something to the tune of “holy cow!” or “this is awesome!”. At one point, I was pretty sure that I was going to be walking back to the shop as I thought one of the test riders might have taken my bike for the day. It is important for the UTA to be “on-board” with E-bikes as being able to put these bikes on the bus racks and in the light rail cars really extends the range of an E-bike. Later we met with some people from the various offices in the state government. Again, it was awesome to see how a few minutes on an E-bike have such a big impact. It was interesting to hear how each person could see how they would use an E-bike in their day to day life or how it might help the people in their office get around town.


Yesterday, Peter and Alison rode a pair of Stromer electric bicycles to the state Department of Environmental Quality. The DEQ was getting into the spirit of Bike Month by offering various bicycling advocacy groups a chance to speak and discuss goals for the future. Ted Wilson was also in attendance and spoke at the event sharing his interest in bike commuting and replacing short car trips aboard a bicycle or electric bike. Obviously Ted could share from personal experience. During their visit many DEQ employees took the opportunity to ride an electric pedal assist bike for the first time. They quickly discovered that, like any bicycle, the Stromer needs to be pedaled and requires the rider to shift gears as speed and terrain changes; however, unlike other bikes, once you start pedaling the electric motor automatically kicks-in to assist your effort. This resulted in each test ride starting with a “whoa” and ending with a smile.


The Contender crew feels strongly that E-bikes are going to play a big part in our future. They’ll be used for fun, for fitness, for commuting and for just doing anything that you would normally do in your car. For sure normal bikes can and will be used for this too and we fully support those who want to make their commute under their own power. Once people get out and experience an E-bike and start to think about the possibilities, they’ll see how these bikes fit in the big picture. Europe is embracing them and if the excitement at this small E-bike introduction is any indication, we’re hopefully following in their tire tracks!

The Contender Camp – Season Six

The Contender Camp

It’s that time of year again. Leaves are falling, daylight is dwindling, jackets are resurfacing and the threat of El Nino looms! …What we’re trying to say is that Contender Camp just around the corner! We are doing online registration again this year. If any participants are interested in paying for all three blocks in advance, we’d like to extend them a special offer by including a follow-up lactate test free of charge. Once you have registered online, your spot is reserved.

To sign up for Block I & your initial lactate test, please click HERE.

To take advantage of the camp special (3 blocks & 2 lactate tests), please click HERE.

Here is the information for this year’s camp. Already in our sixth season, we’re taking the classes to the next level! Plus we have some exciting changes that are going to make this year’s Camp the best yet. 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 and Alison’s boundless cycling and training, Dr. Eric Taylor and Blake’s knowledge and impressive backgrounds in sports physiology as well as this year’s addition of pro-cyclist Jeff Louder’s input and invaluable experience will be coming together to make sure this year’s classes are the best yet.

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 which will challenge Camp participants and help us see improvements along the way ultimately motivating us to become a better cyclist. Plus our expert staff and their legendary choice of playlist keeps you motivated and (possibly) fist pumping for the entire 90 minute workout.

And What About These New Features?

  • FLAT SCREEN FANTASTIC – We’re adding some flat screens to our training center for an easier way to keep track of the progression of the workout. Plus a little extra motivation is added while you pedal with some choice race clips curated by our staff
  • TRAINING CENTER – We’ve put together a small training center focused on fundamental exercises and recovery modalities designed to strengthen and speed recovery of functional muscles that cyclist tend to overlook. More details to come soon!
  • EXPANDED SATURDAY OPTIONS – We are a bike shop for the people. And what did the people ask? They asked for more weekend options for a Saturday “bonus” class. If you miss one of your workouts during the week or want to squeeze in one more ride, we’ll offer more chances on Saturday. As always the trainer room is open during the shop’s business hours for use by all Camp participants.

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.

M/W Morning: 6:00 AM – 7:30 AM
M/W Evening: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM (SOLD OUT)
T/TH Early Morning: 5:15 AM – 6:45 AM (SOLD OUT)
T/TH Late Morning: 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
T/TH Late Afternoon: 4:15 PM – 5:45 PM
T/TH Evening: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM (SOLD OUT)


FOLLOW-UP LACTATE TESTS (if desired to reestablish training zones): $100.00
CAMP SPECIAL: $940 (all three blocks and two lactate tests included)

Blake Vatne will again be doing all of the lactate testing at Contender Bicycles. For your initial testing, please feel free to set up a time with him during the month of October before classes begin. Please note that although retesting lactate levels at some point halfway through the camp is optional, we recommend reestablishing your training values in order to maximize your gains and foster continual growth throughout the classes as you get stronger and stronger on the bike! For additional information, please feel free to contact our shop (801.364.0344) or email Blake at blake@contenderbicycles.com. If you are interested in a class that is full, please email Blake so he can put you on a cancellation list.

First, you are using your own bike on a Computrainer allows you to train indoors in the same position you use out on the open road. So for each ride you don’t have to adapt to going back and forth between a stationary bike and your personal bike. Second, using a Computrainer allows you to ride at precise intensities prescribed in accordance with the values specific to your ability. Once you set a specific workload or wattage, the Computrainer instantly adjusts to keep your workload steady regardless of your cadence. In addition, there is only a little flywheel to help “carry you through” the effort. In other words, there is no coasting on a Computrainer. It all adds up to making the most of your training time and turns every RPM into an investment in your fitness!


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Jeff’s decision to retire from professional cycling at the end of the 2014 season is a loss to his team, UnitedHealthcare, but we couldn’t be happier because it means that he has time start working with us! Originally from Salt Lake City, Louder was the 2008 winner of the Tour of Utah. He’s raced for over 15 years as a pro and has taken part in the 2010 Giro d’Italia, and has won stages at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah (2010), The Tour of Qinghai Lake (2004), Redlands Bicycle Classic, Tour of Connecticut (2004), and has taken third place in US Nationals. Louder has also been a podium finisher at several international stage races, including the Tour de Beauce where he finished third in 2005 and the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China where he finished third in 2004.

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.

Alison gradually fell into her role at Contender Bicycles. Shortly after starting to race on the road, she met Ryan on the way out to the local criterium series. After they married, Alison continued to race bicycles and establish her career as an engineer. Experiencing some success racing, Alison decided to put her career on hold and race bicycles full-time. However, a severe spinal injury resulted in multiple surgeries which derailed her plans in cycling. In between surgeries and during recovery, Alison started to work at the shop. Over the years, her role has steadily grown to where she is now an integral part of Contender Bicycles. With her recovery behind her, she still loves to ride and feels lucky to still be on the bike.

Contender Bicycles Cyclocross Skills Clinic


Thursdays, beginning September 18, 5:30-7:30 pm, thru October 16 (5 weeks total).

Location: Sugarhouse Park, Salt Lake City. 2100 S. 1500 E.
Schedule: Meet at the NW Corner of the Park. See map on Page 2. Barrier Practice for 30-60 minutes, followed by anti-clockwise laps around the park

All-inclusive Fees for the entire 5 weeks:
• USA Cycling License Holders: $20 unlimited pass
• Non-licensed Riders $15 one time + $10 each additional day
• Registration online ONLY. You must register for your first clinic!

Fees partially cover the cost of the permits (USA Cycling and Sugarhouse Park), insurance for all riders ($1/rider/day), and the $10/day/rider one-day license fee for non-licensed riders. Do the math. No extra charges, no refunds, no profit. Licensed Riders must sign in each week, one-day license required each time for non-licensed riders.

Goals: Learn something about cyclocross technique; how to go over barriers, run up hills, and ride a skinny-tired bike off the pavement. Local ‘cross gurus will lead the clinics and distribute nuggets of wisdom. Cyclocross or Mountain Bikes are welcome.

Rules: Bikes are absolutely prohibited off-pavement anytime except during the clinic! Violation will result in us losing use of the Park. This is a promise. Do not ride on the grass except for Thursdays, during the clinic. Clinic participants are expected to police themselves.

Need more information? Email crossdoctor@gmail.com.

Minimizing conflict with other park users. The time of the clinic is one of the
heaviest used times by runners, and runners use the same perimeter trail as for the
cyclocross clinic. We must minimize conflicts with runners . First, the cyclists have to
be aware of the requirement to be good citizens, second, the cyclists will give the right away to runners on the trail.

What does this mean to you, the bike rider? Don’t annoy the runners! If there is some encounter, apologize. Give them a wide berth and politely announce your presence. Don’t ride your bike around Sugarhouse Park outside the clinic times. If you see someone else doing this, explain to them the ramifications of their actions. Conflicts between cyclists and runners could cause us to permanently lose the Park.