Candy at Contender for Halloween? What Else Could You Need?

What’s cooler than shopping Contender, your favorite friendly neighborhood bike shop?

The answer is shopping Contender, your favorite friendly neighborhood bike shop, all dressed up for Halloween and with Hall-ow-treats in hand! (obviously)

That’s right! We’ll be passing out treats to trick-or-treaters this Friday, Halloween night from 4pm to 7pm – so stop by and say BOO!

Come on down to the shop for some Trick-or-treat goodies and stay to check out the other festivities happening in the 9th & 9th hood. There will be a Halloween photo booth, pumpkin decorating, and all kinds of treats for the kids.

We’d love to see everyone stop by dressed in their Halloween best!

And remember: All cycling and no treats makes Ernie a grumpy dude…

Here's ERNIE! The dude needs treats in the biggest way.

Wendy? DARLING? Light of my life…This little dude needs treats in a big way. He’s a huge Kubrick fan btw.

Your Favorite Weapon In The Cold War: The Scott Big Ed

PC: 2014 Maxi Dickerhoff

First off, we hope everyone is taking advantage of the unbelievable weather we’re having (disregard the 20min of snow we had mid-morning today). Hopefully we can squeeze a few more weeks out of the sun before it disappears into next March. Sooner or later, however, we’ll have to face facts: snow’s going to be covering the ground and we’ll have to dig in for winter with shovels, ice scrapers, and fond memories of this past season’s rides.

But I think you’ll be happy to hear that the Captains of Cycling here at Contender HQ have found a super soldier to keep all you commandos stoked when you’re down in those trenches of winter, battling the cold.

He goes by the name Big Ed.

No, we’re not talking about this:

There's a reason it's been around since '68. But it's definitely not the Big Ed we're talking about. Not bad for a post-ride recovery meal though.

There’s a reason it’s been around Salt Lake since ’68. That reason: hungover students. Still, not bad for a post-ride recovery meal.

…Or even these:

Have you had these?! Crazy good. But seriously probably the fastest way to a massive coronary. Again, solid post-ride fuel.

Have you had these?! Crazy good. But seriously probably the fastest way to a massive coronary. So, again, solid post-ride fuel choice.

Although both of the above Big Ed’s have their own virtues (and damned if we’re going to come between you and your eats), if you’re actually looking to cure the snow covered single track blues with something that’s ton’s of fun to ride and not a hamburger, Look no further than SCOTT’s Big Ed:

SCOTT Bikes' Big Ed. Pretty sure THIS Ed will save you from winter gloom WITHOUT prodigious weight gains and an influx of  moo moos introduced to your wardrobe -ain't NOBODY wanna see that.

SCOTT Bikes’ Big Ed. Pretty sure THIS Ed will save you from winter gloom WITHOUT prodigious weight gains and an influx of moo moos introduced to your wardrobe -ain’t NOBODY wanna see that.

Weighing in at 33.7 pounds (15.3kg) and officially launching Scott into the fat bike arms race, the Big Ed is one hell of a way to swagger up to your seat at the war room table. Cold War references (nearly) aside, the Big Ed is definitely ready to take on any of the other manufacturers with it’s sturdy, 6061 Alloy frame. Scott has outfitted the Big Ed with RockShox’s new Bluto RL fork, SRAM X7/X9 2×10 drivetrain, Shimano Hydraulic disc brakes and Syncros single-wall aluminum rims – with Kenda’s lightest fat bike tires, the Juggernauts, to make sure this bike is ready to storm your favorite snow packed trail or invade any beach or dune you can get to. As we looked over the geometry of the new bike, we decided the Big Ed owes a lot to Scott’s latest line of top-shelf alloy hardtails. Featuring the same tapered front end style and super strong hydroformed tubing, the Big Ed adds forged quick-release rear dropouts and a forward chainstay stub to allow more clearance for chainrings and the rear tires. The wide shell for the bottom bracket also helps with fat bike rear tire clearance.

6061 Alloy frame is lightweight and sturdy

6061 Alloy frame is lightweight and sturdy

Although fat bike purists may argue that the need for suspension with such huge tires may be overkill, there’s no denying that the Bluto fork provides a level of control and precision riding that’s been missing from fat bikes. The Bluto sports 100mm of travel as well as a super strong 15mm axle and remote or crown adjustable dampening. From the crown to the dropouts, the Bluto has been overbuilt to keep you covered during all your fat bike shenanigans.

RockShox’s Bluto RL fork is good for 100mm of travel and a super smooth ride - which is almost as good as a giant ice cream sandwich

RockShox’s Bluto RL fork is good for 100mm of travel and a super smooth ride – which is almost as good as a giant ice cream sandwich.

The externally routed cables keep it easy to work on while Shimano’s hydraulics support a 180mm rotor up front and a chainstay mounted rear caliper featuring a 160mm rotor. The E-thirteen TRS aluminum crankset feeds the 2×10 SRAM drivetrain (with 22/36T chainrings up front and an 11-36T cassette in the rear) that features a solid mix of X7 and X9 components.The front derailleur is clamp style with a high direct mount adapter while a Syncros 35mm bar and stem deck out the cockpit.

SRAM X9 drivetrain provides seamless shifts. The 2x10 gearing offers plenty of range.

SRAM X7/X9 drivetrain provides seamless shifts. The 2×10 gearing offers plenty of range.

All in all, it’s a pretty impressive build for a bike that will keep you mobile and riding throughout the winter. As fat bike fans for several years now, we’re definitely excited to see SCOTT get into the game – especially when their bike is so well built and looks this good.

So head on into your favorite friendly neighborhood shop and check out the Big Ed. We’re always happy when people stop by to check out the new bikes, we’re happier when they bring ice cream sandwiches;)

Photo Contest: Your Favorite Ride in Utah This Year – Every Entry Gets A T-Shirt!

Well folks, “the other fall we name the fall”* is here and another cycling season is drawing to a close. Even you cyclocrossers have to admit your riding days are numbered. We’re sure you’ve racked up some phenomenal memories from plenty of miles spent on the trails, gravel and black top with your usual rogue’s gallery of friends, foes and large-calved freaks – and we want to see it!

We’re having a contest that provides a sweet Contender T-shirt in exchange from some great pics of all you two-wheeled faithful out there doing your thing and showing off your favorite Utah rides from 2014. Send us a shot from this past season of you on your bike riding your favorite route in Utah and we’ll give you one of these:

"Excuse me, are you a Contender Bicycles employee?" "No, but I do wear their sweet tees."

No! Not a Peter, Omar or Joel……we’re talking about their sweet shirts!

Every entry receives a Contender Bicycles tee! However only one photo receives the grand prize of a $50 Contender Bicycles Gift Card! So send your pics ASAP! You can email them to or simply submit a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #ContenderRides.

We can’t wait to see all your pictures! Contest ends October 31st. We’ll announce the winner on Instagram and Facebook on Nov 1. Stay tuned!

*”The Oven Bird” by Robert Frost
**After submitting your photo, please swing by the shop to pick up your t-shirt. Limited to one t-shirt per person while supplies last.

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 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

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.

BMC Team Night? More Like BMC Dream Night

Last night we were lucky enough to host the Men’s BMC Pro Cycling Team who had just wrapped up a successful campaign in our very own Tour of Utah. The team was gracious enough to come by, hang out, talk about racing a little bit and answer some questions from their adoring public.

Standing room only last night as Team BMC stopped by Contender HQ.

Standing room only last night as Team BMC stopped by Contender HQ.

Among the BMC attendees was Michael Schär, who not only pulled off an impressive TOU win on Stage 2, a 130 mile suffer-fest that included 10,162 feet of climbing over four KOMs, but who also caught the eye of our favorite new staff member, Katie Houser:

“When he walked in, my jaw pretty much dropped. I was like, who’s that tall drink of water? Then we started talking about our favorite chamois and I knew that was it -he likes chamois, I like chamois, he’s the one.”

– Katie on her run in with BMC greatness and future hubby.

Turns out Katie has a soft spot for tall, slender Swiss men. The fact that he rides a bike is, "just icing on that beefy cake", she said.

Turns out Katie has a soft spot for tall, slender Swiss men. The fact that he rides a bike is, “just icing on that beefy-quaded, handsome cake”, she said.

The team not only spent time answering questions but they also were awesome enough to shake some hands and autograph hats, bottles, jerseys and posters.


Peter Stetina chatting with some fans and signing memorabilia last night during our BMC Team Night

Peter Stetina chatting with some fans and signing memorabilia last night during our BMC Team Night

Our Thanks to the BMC riders, Peter Stetina, Michael Schär, Brent Bookwalter, Rick Zabel, Ben Hermans, Yannick Eijssen and Martin Kohler for coming out and saying hi!

Next stop for the team is Colorado for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Plenty of BMC schwag kept the kiddos happy

Plenty of BMC schwag kept the kiddos happy

You can check out BMC’s Flickr album from the night HERE