Jeff is a newer staff member at Contender Bicycles yet he is no stranger to riding all types of bikes and working in a bike shop. After riding BMX bikes and mastering dirt jumps when he was younger, Jeff later got hooked on full suspension bikes and never looked back. Jeff prefers all-mountain downhill mountain riding and brings a unique perspective to those who seek the thrills of going quick downhill. If you have ever ridden your mountain bike at Canyons Resort in Park City, you may have seen Jeff riding his favorite trail known as Insurgent. Insurgent is very steep, loose and has plenty of drops and big rocks to dodge at high speeds. If you are planning on attending the Red Bull Rampage in Virgin Utah later this year, you may see Jeff cheering on some of his favorite downhill riders. After starting at Contender Bicycles, Jeff has become very fond of the TIME Skylon AKTIV due to its hands-on craftsmanship and revolutionary fork with a built in internal mechanism known as a tuned mass damper to improve ride quality and offer ultimate rider comfort. Jeff hopes to purchase a new mountain bike later this year and will continue to refine his downhill skills and explore all the trails Utah has to offer.
Q: What was your first bike ever?
A: Red Line RL 340 BMX race bike steel frame with 44×16 gearing.
Q: What was awesome about it?
A: Got it when I was 9 and I still have it!
Q: Did you ever take it off of any sweet jumps?
A: Yes, broke my first bone on that bike! Collar bone and shoulder separation…
Q: Dirt or road?
A: Dirt of course.
Q: Why not road?
A: You don’t leave the ground often enough on the road. I like riding down steep hills and jumping on dirt.
Q: Hardtail or full-suspension?
A: Full Suspension…see above. Because I like to hit sweet jumps.
Q: 27.5” or 29”?
Q: 26”…are you serious? Do you know what century it is?
A: Yes, I’m a little behind the times but 27.5” will be next. It is getting more and more difficult to find good 26” tires. I would like a Scott Genius LT 700 or a similar long travel trail bike.
Jeff picked the revolutionary Oakley Jawbreaker Prizm Sunglasses as his favorite product for the 2015 season. These advanced sunglasses feature Prizm lenses that help increase vision for cyclists in all types of environments. These lenses enhance the road and your surroundings so you can see obstacles like rocks and potholes quickly and feel more confident as you ride. Unobtanium is a texture that Oakley developed to increase adhesion when wet to grip and stay in place when you sweat. Some other cool features that Jeff covers in his video include adjustable arm length for different size heads and helmet setups, Switchlock technology to easily swap out and remove lenses, and a full-coverage design to protect your eyes from the elements. We have multiple color and style options of these sunglasses at the shop if you would like to come down and try them on. Jeff guarantee’s that you’re going to like the way you look.
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!
The one-the-only Nick Gaitan is excited for Skratch Labs latest release called Fruit Drops. He enjoys the taste and benefits offered by the Fruit Drops so much that he selected them as his favorite new product for the 2015 season! Fruit Drops are made with simple ingredients and flavored with real fruit to create an energy chew that isn’t sticky like wax. One Fruit Drop contains 4 grams of carbohydrates and 16 calories. The best part about Fruit Drops is they taste great and are not sticky when you pull them out of your jersey pocket while riding. Currently the Drops are offered in two flavors: raspberry or orange. If you ask Nick what his favorite flavor is, he will tell you to try both at the same time. Use the Skratch Labs Fruit Drops as an easy and convenient source of carbohydrate to help maintain blood sugar and performance during prolonged exercise. A single pouch contains ten ‘drops’ comprising two 80 calorie servings. When you run into Nick running to the top of Granger, you will see the drops bouncing in his pocket!
At Contender Bicycles, we feel strongly that a proper position on your bike is imperative to being able to enjoy cycling to its fullest. So we decided to ask Blake, our Fitting and Training manager, a few questions to hear some of his insight into the fitting process.
Who will benefit from getting a bike fit and why?
Anyone looking to improve their level of comfort on the bike, to boost their efficiency, and to reduce their risk of developing overuse injuries will benefit from getting a bike fit. This is especially true with those using clipless pedals and cycling shoes as they significantly reduce our ability to cope with any misalignments caused by an improper position on the bike. Naturally speaking, humans are made to function asymmetrically. On the other hand, bikes are highly symmetrical devices. This demands a greater degree of functional symmetry in order for us to interact with the bike to the best of our abilities. Therefore, a quality bike fit should specifically involve improving a rider’s level of symmetry on the bike while optimizing their comfort, stability, and efficiency according to what their current structural makeup permits. This will help allow us to ride as far as we want and as hard as we want, pain free.
What’s typically involved with a bike fitting?
Pelvic stability as well as proper hip, knee and foot alignment are essential for injury prevention and optimal performance on the bike. Therefore, bicycle fitting is essentially a process of removing as many factors possible that are negatively impacting our level of symmetry on the bike. This ensures that a rider has a sustainable position to work towards their riding goals taking into consideration their current level of fitness and physical limitations.
Listed below are some commonly made adjustments during a fit:
Cleats adjusted for providing a stable and neutral foot position
Seat height adjusted for appropriate leg extension with smooth, stable form
Seat setback adjusted for placing the pelvis in a balanced fore/aft position for leverage
Seat angle adjusted for soft tissue comfort and stabilization of pelvis
Handlebar rotation adjusted for proper ergonomics at wrists and arms
Handlebar height and reach adjusted for torso/shoulder reach
Client provided with a working knowledge of their bicycle and it’s accessories
How much time should I plan for when getting my bike fitted?
Depending on the level of service you’re interested in, plan on your fit taking anywhere from 30-60 minutes for a basic fitting and 1.5-2 hours for a more in-depth, comprehensive fitting.
When is the best time to have a bike fit?
This can be a tough question to answer as many factors can play a part in this, but long story short – fits are constantly evolving. Our flexibility and core strength fluctuate; we frequently replace our equipment, riding goals change for the season, etc. As much as we would like it to be just black and white, unfortunately it never will be. With that being said, we should not experience any significant discomfort or pain on the bike. Pain is rarely the first sign of a problem. Injuries occur once we’ve run out of ways to compensate for a given problem and then shift the load back to weak and/or tight muscle groups unable to bear it. Ideally, you should be able to ride as long and as hard as you wish pain free. If you’re unable to do so, then it’s time to make a change for the better. Listen to your body and be attentive to what it’s trying to tell you.
What can I expect after getting my bike fitted?
Expect to feel added strength, stability and comfort on the bike. Although it can be tempting to immediately “test” a new position out, it is best to “work into” the changes for a week or two to allow your body to adapt to the new position. Neurologically speaking, we adapt to new motor patterns much faster while riding at a lower intensity. Make sure to ease into the changes made to your fit before increasing your training intensity or duration too much.
Lastly, what’s the difference between a good bike fit and a bad one?
Ultimately, the difference between a good bike fit and a bad one can only be based on the final result. A bike fit cannot be reduced to a formula or a computer program. Fits are almost always a work-in-progress that require some time for simple adaption and to work on other fundamentals such as core strength or flexibility.
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. Since graduating in the spring of 2010, Blake has taken on an integral role in our fitting services and organizing and managing the Contender Camp throughout the fall, winter and early spring months. Blake is the Fitting and Training Manager at Contender Bicycles and wants to help you be comfortable on the bike, boost your efficiency and reduce the risk of developing overuse injuries. Blake is an 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.
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.
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!
Patrick may be one of Contender Bicycle’s newest staff members but he is no stranger to hard riding and fast racing. That being true, he knows that a quality carbon wheelset is the best place to add horsepower to your race bike. The Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40c wheel system is his choice due to their technology incorporated in the wheelset to reduce braking heat. This technology involves laying up multiple layers of resins and then fixing them to the rim using a proprietary heat treatment process to achieve the most resistance to braking heat. This is extremely useful for riders who enjoy climbing canyons without having to worry about their wheels getting too hot on the descents. Built with a 40mm deep rim profile, bladed spokes and Mavic’s own tires this wheel system is race-ready and Patrick approved.
TIME recently decided to make a limited edition run of the TIME VXRS to celebrate Paolo Bettini’s victories in the Athen’s Olympic road race and in the 2006 world championship road race. In both races he rode the TIME VXRS to victory. Back then, TIME made a limited edition paint job VXRS forboth Bettini and Tom Boonen who also rode the VXRS to a world championship. While Bettini was always one of my favorites, I actually had a Boonen paint job. I was excited to have it but always wished that I had a Bettini instead. Paolo Bettini was simply one of the most dynamic, aggressive and tactically smart racers in his era. He was the type of rider that would make any race animated. Needless to say, my ears perked up when I heard that TIME was re-releasing a limited edition run of a commemorative Bettini TIME VXRS. However, I didn’t just want to get the frame as a collector’s piece. I remembered my old VXRS as being a phenomenally riding bike. My memory served me correctly. With great handling, great responsiveness and ride that will keep you comfortable for hours, this bike has simply made me very happy.
Contender is hosting Ban Supply Co, a local artisan creating incredible works of “wood cut poster art” for the 9th & 9th Art Walk. Recently they created this piece for our own Peter Barrett for his 50th birthday! We are very excited to have Bree and Nate Millard from Ban Supply Co at the shop this Friday showing off their hand made creations. Swing by the shop to check out their pieces and cruise the rest of the 9th & 9th visiting all the other business hosting artists. The gallery stroll runs from 6 to 9 pm, Friday, May 8.
After using the SRAM Guide RSC Brakes for 6 months, Luke reviews what he likes about them and how SRAM has stepped up their game to make sure they rival their top competitors. The smooth modulation and lever control of the Guide RSC Brakes help you feel confident as you tackle technical terrain.
Yesterday the staff at the shop caught a glimpse of the new Pinarello Dogma K8-S. We were lucky to have Pinarello’s Luciano Fusar Poli at the shop with the new Dogma K8 in hand! The Dogma K8-S is not just a “game changing” bike for the Paris-Roubaix. It was designed for long rides on less than perfect roads. It starts with the same front triangle as the Dogma F8, a bike often touted as gold standard for bikes. Superior stiffness, Jaguar-designed aerodynamics and Pinarello‘s famous aesthetic are all characteristics within the K8-S platform. The Dogma K8-S is a bit like a mullet. Business up front and party in the back. By party we’re referring to a centimeter of rear wheel travel. This elastomer-dampened movement, designed in conjunction with Jaguar’s engineering team, gives enough to take the edge off while keeping the sense of power transfer and efficiency that Pinarello is famous for. At 990gr for the frame, Sky riders are already requesting this frame for several of the six hour plus stages of the Giro d’Italia.