Corgi Cross is Here!


If you’ve heard barking coming from inside the bike shop or seen a four-legged friend running around Contender, you’ve probably assumed that Alison and I are big fans of dogs. While we love all dogs, we’re a bit partial to those that come from rescues. So how did we arrive at Corgi Cross? Here’s the short version.

Our two most recent canine additions happen to be of the Corgi breed. One is young and full of energy and the other is….well….the opposite. They get a laugh out of us each time they go up or down the stairs or run through the store. Penny, the younger one, flies up steps and can turn on a dime. She makes it look easy, sort of like Sven Nys.  Ernie can also get it done but not quite so eloquently.  One day as Penny effortlessly leaped up the steps going to the office, Peter made some cyclocross related comment and the ball started rolling. We joked around a bit about Corgis and cross and how Corgis would replace the Lion of Flanders in our dream world. Think about it, when was the last time you saw a Lion hop something? Quickly we had some ideas for a t-shirt or a jersey that would have some Corgis with a crown replacing the coat of arms because after all they are the dog of choice for the Queen.


With a “solid” concept in place, Kevin and Alison dove into design and came up with awesome designs for jerseys, t-shirts and hoodies. With a little research, we found that in Welsh folklore, fairies road corgis into battle. No wonder these dogs can motor. Like most cyclocrossers, we wanted to make sure that fun was the emphasis here!  Since a lot of riders seem to be “powered by” something or “presented by” someone, we decided to notch the seriousness down a bit, have some fun and do some good by donating all of the proceeds from this project to CAWS, a really great animal rescue here in Utah. Our Corgis came from CAWS and we can’t thank them enough for what they do!

So if you like dogs, or like cross (or hopefully you like both), purchase a jersey, a t-shirt or a hoodie and support CAWS and show your true cross colors too! View our NEW PRODUCT section to check out the individual items.


Please note both Corgi Cross logos are on each apparel item. The sweatshirts and jersey have the large logo on the back.

The Contender Camp – Season Seven

The Contender Camp

It’s that time of year again. Leaves are falling, daylight is dwindling and jackets are resurfacing as the threat of El Nino looms! …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 like to extend a special offer by including one lactate test free of charge bringing down the price of last year’s camp special. Once you have registered, your spot is reserved.

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

To take advantage of the NEW camp special (all three blocks and one free lactate test), please click HERE.

Already in our seventh 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 and Alison’s 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. Adding Nick, Julian, Cody and Richard to the mix means this year will be better than ever.

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 their legendary choice of playlist keeps you motivated for the entire 90 minute workout.

M/W Morning:  6:00 AM – 7:30 AM (ALMOST FULL)
M/W Evening: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
T/TH Early Morning: 5:15 AM – 6:45 AM (FULL)
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 (ALMOST FULL)

BLOCK II:  WED, DEC 16 – THU, FEB 4 (HOLIDAY BREAK – DEC 23 through JAN 3)

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.

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 If you are interested in a class that is full, please email Blake so he can put you on a cancellation list.


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.

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.

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.

Sugarhouse Cyclocross Skills Clinics

Sugarhouse Cyclocross Skills Clinic

When: Thursdays beginning September 17th – October 15th from 5:30-7:30 PM.
Location: Sugarhouse Park, Salt Lake City. 2100 S. 1500 E.
Schedule: Meet at the NW Corner of the Park (see map below). Barrier Practice for 30-60 minutes, followed by anti-clockwise laps around the park perimeter.

All-inclusive Fees for the entire 5 weeks:
• USA Cycling License Holders: $30 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 ($2/rider/day), and the $10/day/rider one-day license fee for non-licensed riders. Licensed Riders must sign in each week, one-day license required each time for non-licensed riders.We are required by the Sugarhouse Park Authority to have the clinic be an insured and permitted event. This is the ONLY time bikes are allowed off-pavement at Sugarhouse Park. Years ago after a couple of incidents occurred during a local cyclocross practice, bikes were officially banned off-pavement. We worked hard to regain the use of the park for a cyclocross practice. Please obey the rules of Sugarhouse Park.

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:

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.

Contender Collection: Boneshaker


There’s old school and then there is Old School. Old as in the 1800s, Civil War old, Industrial Revolution old even. The earliest two-wheelers date back to the early 19th century with patented designs and working models first popping up in 1817. As usage accelerated and technology (yes they technology back in the day) the early balance bike or “hobby horse” was upgraded with pedals attached to the front wheel or actual drivetrains – consisting of various treddles, pedals and linkage – pushing them forward. All of these designs rolled on heavy wooden wheels, sometimes shod with steel strips – the resulting rough ride lead to the nickname Boneshaker.


There is also a well-documented Bicycle Boom from the later part of that century, that saw sales and participation soar, with thousands of two-wheelers taking to cobbled streets; recent improvements like metal frames, metal-spoked wheels and solid rubber tires making the Boneshaker much more enjoyable to ride. As the centuries changed and world-wide tensions increased many of these old models were recycled in support of their country’s war efforts. On another front, the introduction of the automobile played a major role in drastically reducing the number of two-wheelers being produced. Not to be out-paced, struggling manufacturers used a constant stream of mechanical advancements such as pneumatic tires, chain-driven transmissions, and more structurally-sound metal frames to keep pedal-powered transportation relevant in the 20th century and in doing so the turned the Boneshaker into what we know as the modern-day bicycle.


The Boneshaker hanging from our rafters made its way from Belgium to Utah when an avid collector wanted to add another antique to his stable. He then realized that it may not be necessary to posses two 150 year wooden bikes and found a good home for it with us. Weighing about 90 pounds this metal-framed relic has stout iron handlebars that you can easily imagine being hammered-out by a blacksmith. The smaller moustache-shaped bar above the front wheel is actually a leg-rest for when it is time to coast along! Thick wooden spokes and metal treads make for a heavy wheelset but are amazingly serviceable – when the wheels get wobbly one just dips the bike into the nearest body of water, this causes the wood to swell and the spokes to tighten. A lot of visitors to the shop find it difficult to believe that it is a real bike that was actually very common place in a century long past. As much as we at Contender Bicycles crave the latest-and-greatest from the bike industry we all feel that it is very cool to have this true piece of cycling history hanging in the shop.


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.

BMC & SRM Power Meter Demo Experience


Join BMC Switzerland and SRM Training Systems at Contender Bicycles this Thursday for an opportunity to be one of the first cyclists in the country to test ride BMC’s 2016 models. Riders attending this FREE DEMO can expect:

– 2016 BMC bikes equipped with SRM PC-8 power meters
– BMC SWAG with every demo
– A Chance to win $500 in BMC apparel!
– Food and refreshments provided by BMC Switzerland


What to bring: Pedals, Shoes, Helmet, ID, Credit Card
Where: Contender Bicycles: 989 E. 900 South Salt Lake City, UT 84105
When: Thursday, August 6th 3:00pm – 7:00pm

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 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!

Saturday August 1st Parking Lot Sale

Looking to score a great bike at a really great price? We have over 200 bikes including a gigantic fleet of Cannondale demos and bikes from their 2016 launch. Select from a huge range of bikes from kid’s to road to mountain to cyclocross.

Great savings on other brands from Giro, Mavic, TIME, BMC & more. Take an extra 20% OFF the lowest marked price on any clothing, shoes or helmets already on sale. All sale items are final sale.

Lazer Helmet Trade In

Bring your old helmet down to the shop this Thursday any time between 5:00 and 7:00 PM and receive 25% OFF any Lazer helmet!

Lazer offers a full range of helmets for road riders, mountain bikers and commuters. There is something for everyone. An ultra-light Z1 or helium helmet is ideal for fast road riders while other models are suited for off-road use or commuting. We can even order the size and color you desire if we don’t have it in store.

This offer was very popular last year and we packed up boxes and boxes of old helmets to be recycled. Lazer has the ability to recycle old helmets in the effort to reclaim materials for new ones. Now is your opportunity to take part in this year’s event and score a nice deal on the Lazer helmet that is right for you.

Lazer helmets from Belgium is the oldest manufacturer of sports helmets in the world dating back to 1919. Since then they have developed protective headwear for skiing, motorsports, paragliding and of course cycling. With features like Rollsys rention, MIPS and Autofit, Lazer produces a lightweight and comfortable helmet for every type of rider.

Staying In Tandem

We absolutely have to share with everyone one of the coolest bikes (for equally cool people) that we have ever built at the shop. Ross and Patti have quite the quiver of tandems and we have been lucky enough to be a part of many of them. This one might take the cake. When Ross and Patti decided to participate in The Crushar in the Tushar, they went all in with this custom Calfee tandem gravel bike.

With 29″ wheels and running drop bars, this is a super versatile tandem. Technically Calfee considers this a mountain tandem. While the primary use of this tandem was more of a gravel/dirt ride, throwing a pair of 700×28 road tires on would make it a top-caliber road tandem. The extra tire clearance and wider range gearing aren’t necessarily something that preclude this bike to being used in the dirt. Swapping between a rigid and a suspension fork up front would be relatively easy and make the bike just “that much better” for specific rides or applications.

In a world where 11 gears of the “one-by” drivetrains seems to be “enough”. This bike features a triple with an eleven speed cassette. While there probably is a 200 gram penalty, the benefits of electronic shifting and a wide array of gearing options seems like a huge win for a tandem. Obviously, cadence on a tandem isn’t probably as easy to vary or to just “power through” a particular steep section of a ride. In the same light, this tandem isn’t going to run out of gears on long and fast downhills. The Di2 shifting also makes quick work of the long cable runs from the captains controls to the drivetrain and allows the captain to see what gear they’re in by looking on his Garmin computer.


If you ever need work on done on your tandem or are looking to get into tandem riding, we can confidently say we are experts. Ross and Patti’s son, Graham, happens to be a long time and highly trained mechanic at the shop. With Graham, we have the ultimate tandem expert having helped design and build not just Ross and Patti’s tandems over the years but a number of other performance tandems.


Here is a little Q & A with Ross and Patti on what keeps them in tandem:

Q. How long have I been “in-tandem”?

A. Ross tried to get me to ride tandem when the kids were young. He bought a Fisher tandem which we rode sporadically for a year or so. When the kids were a little older he bought a Comotion tandem which I was not too interested in riding, so he rode it with a friend for several years. In the late 1990s when the kids were teenage or so, he bought a Davinci tandem. That was when we started riding tandem in earnest. Later we bought another Comotion. In 2008 we bought a Calfee tandem with couplers. A year or two later we bought a Ventana double suspension mountain bike tandem. Right now we are having a Calfee dirt/cross tandem built up.


Q. Marital counseling or marital bliss?

A. I am not nearly as strong a rider as Ross. Riding tandem is the only way we can ride together. I am not much of an athlete but I have some amount of dedication & determination. Ross has mad bike skills & lots of patience. Tandems are not ideal for every couple that rides but they have been great for us. We actually like to share tandem adventures together, not that there is never any friction. But honestly we have had some awesome times!


Q. Favorite road tandem ride?

A. We have been fortunate to be able to experience some amazing road tandem riding. It is impossible to pick a favorite ride. We have ridden in the Dolomites, in the Alps including many of the Tour de France routes, in Provence including Mt. Ventoux, on the Island of Corsica, as well as in many of the western states including the Desperado Dual, the Triple Bypass & the Moab Century.


Q. Favorite dirt tandem ride?

A. We have done less dirt/mountain bike riding. We have found some fun rides in Southern Utah & the San Juans of Colorado.


Q. Scary moments or crashes?

A. Nine years ago we crashed on the MS 150. I had a concussion, a clavicle fracture & several ribs fractures. On our tour through the Dolomites disc brakes were new to us. We experienced brake failure during a descent that could have been disastrous. We attempted one ditching maneuver which luckily worked. We remained pretty much unscathed but very shaken up. Needless to say we got better educated on disc brakes & when we got home purchased the biggest rotors our bike could accommodate. Also we have had several lesser falls on our mountain bike tandem but none of much consequence.


Q. Best moment or memory?

A. So many great memories! One of the best was riding our tandem from Cortina, Italy up to the Refugio Auronzo at the base of the Tri Cime di Lavaredo. All of the riding in the Dolomites as well as l’Oisans area of the French Alps is just spectacular.


Q. Tandem fat bikes?

A. I have been trying to get Ross interested in a tandem fat bike but he is skeptical. He just got a fat bike last year for some snow riding but the season was pretty short. I tend to want to Nordic ski in the winter. So right now I don’t see one in our future.

Q. Advice for new tandem-ers?

A. I imagine many tandem teams are not matched in strength. If the stronger person is not reconciled to riding slower than they do solo that could lead to discord. Riding tandem is definitely different from riding solo. Tandems can go fast on the flats but they are relatively slower on hills. The stoker can’t see much of the road ahead from their position so it is important that the captain communicates well with the stoker. Also the stoker can actually do a lot of steering from behind so it is important that the stoker trusts the captain enough to let him steer. Learning to stand together while riding tandem has been essential to allowing me to ride for long periods of time. It also helps when riding steeper grades. I think it’s a skill worth incorporating. Also, I think riding tandem should be augmented with riding solo.



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