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.
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.
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.
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
You can check out BMC’s Flickr album from the night HERE
Come down to the shop this Wednesday, August 13th from 6-7 P.M. and hang out with the BMC Team from this year’s Tour of Utah! Light snacks and drinks will be offered. Everyone is welcome!
Get details on the Ride BMC Experience: http://goo.gl/0GnyGw
Nate may be one of the newer employees here at the shop, but that doesn’t mean that the man is suffering from a lack of experience. As an avid cyclist for over a decade now, Nate has quite the colorful history when it comes to the road and mountain bikes he’s owned. From Q Factors to rare road frames from the 60s, never has a Contender employee been so steeped in myth and questions about who and what he is -He’s the Kaiser Söze of the shop:
So where are you from originally?
I’m a Utah native, born and raised right here in Salt Lake City. Never lived anywhere else.
So you never were a nefarious crime boss?
Are you Hungarian?
I said when did you start riding bikes?
I started riding road in high school, my junior year. My dad gave me a 1961 Paragon he’d bought in Berkeley from the want ads. It was parked in the basement when I grabbed it. It had old Campy stuff on it. I put on new brakes, relaced the hubs to some new wheels and put in a new bottom bracket. I rode that bike for three years.
Talk about the Paragon. Go:
I looked through bike forums on the internet and found the guy that built the frame, Lars Zebroski. He’s passed, but I actually contacted his friend and racing companion, Victor Vincente of America, who rode a custom made Paragon from Lars as well -he told me about the bike and all the history behind it. It’s a cool story. The bike is really one of a kind. And Victor is a pretty important figure in cycling history.
I feel a future post coming up. Why do you like the Paragon so much?
I love the old Campy stuff -the coolest thing about the bike is that it has 52-44 chain rings. It’s called “man gearing”
Speaking of, ever killed a man?
That’s a ridiculous question.
Ridiculous because you’ve killed so many?
So what‘s your fascination with old bikes?
It’s all about the Q Factor
What is Q Factor?
Q Factor measures the width of a pedal, crankarm and bottom bracket relative to the riders foot. There’s been research that says a narrower Q Factor is beneficial to a rider because it’s similar to how a foot tracks when we’re walking.
You’re a nerd. A possibly deadly nerd.
Yeah…It’s a design that Campy uses currently and it’s more prevalent on older bikes. It’s a way to line up the hips of the rider with the crank arms and pedals. Basically you’re bringing the pedals and crank closer to the foot of the rider to increase efficiency.
It’s a cool idea because everybody has a different anatomy
Are you calling me fat?
I’m not calling you fat.
You can call me fat, just don’t kill me and my family. Do you mountain bike at all?
Last time, I’m not Kaiser Soze. But I do mountain bike. A friend of mine sold me his ’98 Jamis Dakar -that was my first one. I have some of my best memories from mountain bike trips to Southern Utah. We’d take the VW van down and just rally with friends.
Sure. Just down there to ride bikes, not run drugs or bury bodies. I get it. So what do you like better, road or mountain?
I like road better because I don’t like to force my off-road confidence, I like it to come to me. But I’m ok forcing that confidence on the road.
What are some of your favorite things at the shop?
I like the Giordana Laser Bib Shorts. They were the first pair of bibs I owned and their seams are better than anyone else’s.
I’m also a big fan of the Pearl Izumi Elite Arrow Jacket. It feels like your basic polyester shell but it’s totally water proof! It surprises me every time.
I just bought a Scott Spark 740 because that thing rips. I love the 27.5 wheel size. I definitely feel like there are more benefits than compromises with that size.
So what do you do when you’re not riding?
I still have a solid group of friends since highschool. We rock climb or play basketball.
So you guys still do some extortion together?
I asked if you’d ever been to Portland together?
No, why would we… weird question. Anyway, I also like to read biographies of interesting people.
What’s the best biography you’ve read?
I don’t know. I haven’t read that many. I should probably read more.
So, as a biography, how accurate is The Usual Suspects? I mean, with regards to you and your crimes and such.
I’m just going to stop responding.
Have any nicknames?
Yeah, ‘Stir Fry Nate’
Not the one I was expecting.
Stir frys man, c’mon! Anyway, If I’m doing well, I’m chopping a lot of vegetables. I love a good stir fry. How long has it been since your last stir fry? I can’t get enough of them.
What I’d like to do now, Nate, is run through a list of common statements made about you and have you tell me if they’re true or not. Sound good?
Yeah man, let’s do that -but then I gotta roll. Kinda jonesing for a stir fry now.
Great. Here we go, first one: Nate only sleeps on his left side
That’s partially true.
Nate has an irrational fear of different time zones
I think it’s pretty rational
I mean, really any fear of time zones is irrational.
That’s true. But what is time? It’s so subjective. That freaks me out.
What about this one: Nate believes handsome people are somehow more genetically similar to orangutans than other less attractive people because orangutans are “one handsome ape.”
Is that a quote? Did I say that?
My sources say you did, yeah.
Who are your sources?
I can’t reveal my sources, sir. Torture me if you want. But it’s not going to happen.
Fine. I don’t want to piss off any gorilla fans out there but seriously, I can’t be the only one who thinks that.
Cycling fans, let’s get real. Utah’s roots in bikes and bike racing run deep. So it’s no wonder the Tour of Utah is
a big deal a really big deal to all of us crazy cyclists that call Utah home.
I’m here to rally the troops. I’m here to insight a movement of pure cycling super-fan madness. Let’s paint our faces. Let’s lose our voices. Let’s wear weird costumes. Let’s have questionable amounts of our bodies visible in said costumes. Why? because we all know the second best thing to actually riding in a tour is standing on the side of the road with no shirt and a red clown wig ringing a cow bell like the cow has a gun to your head.
I think we’re off to a good start with this: Our good friend Martin Cole decided to show his TOU fever by painting his frickin’ toes!
But I want to see some of this too:
And definitely a bit of all this:
Now, we definitely don’t want to see any of this:
But hey, if the great Jens Voigt says he loves us, then we know we’re doing something right:
“I’ll never forget my first day in Utah. I was still jetlagged—yes, I am pretty good at that— and on Stage 1 I have to go to the front with Joost Posthuma and a couple of Garmin riders. I still hadn’t adapted to the altitude and finally on the last climb I just blow. I mean it was a spectacular detonation! So there I am dead last going up this climb. I couldn’t even hold the wheels of the sprinters. I just wanted to find a ditch to crash into until an ambulance came and picked me up. But the fans kept yelling, “shut up legs,” and they just cheered me up. So I kept the faith. That is real fan support.” -Jens Voigt in Bicycling Magazine on his experiences in the TOU.
We’ll see the racers up here in Salt Lake this Saturday, August 9th for stage 6, the ‘Queen Stage’ -where the racers will be
suffering climbing up Emigration, Big Mountain, Guardsman and then finishing in Snowbird. It’s a little over 12,500 ft of elevation in 107 miles. Which also means it’s a little over ridiculous.
You can get a spectator guide or download the official Tour of Utah mobile app HERE.
And I better not be the only one out there in a speedo.
Vincenzo Nibali, stepped down from the podium in front of the Champs-Elysees on Sunday a champion.
He had lead the 2014 Tour for every single stage less two, he’d won four of it’s 21 stages, and his lead of 7-minutes and 37-seconds was the biggest margin of victory held in the Tour since Armstrong’s win (now officially not a win) in 1999. Nibali is also now one of only a handful of riders that has won the Giro, the Vuelta and the Tour –all three of the Grand Tours.
Regardless of all this, some look at Nibali’s win as simply a result of better rider’s bad luck with crashes and injuries early in the Tour.
Bradley Wiggins, who won the Tour in 2012 was passed over by Team Sky because they wanted to focus on Chris Froome, the 2013 Tour winner. When Froome crashed out along with Alberto Contador, it was suggested that Nibali was just the best of what was left in the peloton.
However, even before their unfortunate crashes, Nibali had a two-second lead on Contador and Froome after he won Stage 2. When Froome crashed out in Stage 5, Nibali put more than 2 minutes between himself and Contador. When Contador’s unfortunate crash occurred on a downhill in Stage 10, Nibali went on to win the stage as it climbed to a ridiculously steep mountain finish atop La Planche des Belles Filles. Nibali then went on to win two more mountain stages across the Alps and Pyrenees.
It’s pretty obvious that Nibali didn’t simply ‘slip’ into a spot made empty by the unlucky crashes of some talented riders. The Italian is a true talent himself. Maybe now he’ll get some respect.
Point is, we’re excited to see him next year. Complementi Vincenzo Nibali!
The Tour’s official website popped out this little video highlight reel of the 2014 Tour. Take a look:
Ahhh, the mid-90s. When pagers were the move, Mel Gibson was still just a closet anti-semitic, and TLC didn’t want us to go chasing waterfalls.
Check out these pics Alison found of Ryan from 1995. And just like O.J. in a white Bronco, Ryan’s killin’ those Brikos (too soon?)
But who’s the gentleman on the left, the one particularly excited to never take off his Oakleys and sport a….mullet??
Is that future Vuelta champion and Tour rider Chris Horner? Yep.
And even back in 1995, a mullet was probably not the latest in hair steez. C’mon, Horner. He probably hadn’t upgraded to Windows ’95 yet either.
We know we’re damn fortunate to have so many good friends and acquaintances that continue to come in and support us, year after year. We work hard to keep your business, and it’s satisfying to see so many of you come back.
Nothing is better than when a customer of ours comes back in to let us know how much they’re enjoying their new bike.
Truly, one of the best parts of what we do is when we make new friends here.
About a month ago we were lucky enough to have Giuliana come in and pick up a bike. Although she’s convinced she was one of our hardest to please customers, we’re going to put that anxiety to rest right now and let her know that she absolutely, categorically was not.
Being Italian, she’s definitely passionate, and that’s a good thing because that passion has translated to loving and riding her new bike.
It also means she’s an artist.
Giuliana came back in last week not just to let us know how enamored she is with the new bike, but to drop off a ridiculously cool plate she made (and some chocolate on top of it that was gone in a matter of minutes) as a thank you.
Look at this thing:
We just wanted to publicly say thanks to Giuliana for the truly impressive gift -it’s now displayed prominently and proudly on our wall.
And we want to let all of you know how much we appreciate being your favorite friendly neighborhood bike shop.
Thanks to all of you for making this a great place to be.
FACT: Being a Contender all-star is probably one of the best things you can do with your life. And our very own Cody Wignall is a shining example of this. The young man started at Contender when he was a mere 16 years old. Now, seven years and seven bikes later, he’s become one helluva Contender employee. The kid knows everything!
Let’s get to know the guy behind the guy behind the guy.
How did you happen to start at Contender so young?
I started riding road bikes a little and knew Ryan from the shop rides. When I found out I had to do community service for my high school and that doing flat repairs and learning the ropes at Contender would actually qualify, I jumped on board. When I turned sixteen, they took me on full time and I’ve been here ever since.
So this is literally the first job you’ve ever had?
Job? You mean I’m not still doing this as community service?
You are. Don’t expect a paycheck. Forget what I said.
Moving on….how long have you ridden?
I started riding a road bike and showing up to the group rides in 2002. But I’ve been on a mountain bike forever. Everyday, after school, I’d try and do wheelies.
Do you ride road or mountain more?
I prefer mountain. I hate cars and the bad drivers that drive them….badly.
How many bikes do you own?
I have seven bikes, two classic Schwinns: a Stingray and a Collegiate, a cyclecross bike, a Pugsly snowbike, and then a couple mountain bikes and a road bike.
Do you have a favorite?
The Pugsly -it turns heads.
YOU turn heads, my friend. Where’s your favorite place to ride?
I love riding Flying Dog in Park City. It gets you out of the way of everyone and there’s a beaver dam you ride past too. Pretty sweet stuff.
So what do you do when you’re not riding or [cough] volunteering at the shop?
I do a little photography, I hike with the wonderful Emily [girlfriend], I’m taking business classes at SLCC and Blake is trying to teach me how to cook.
So what are some of your favorite things we carry?
I really Like Assos Clothing. I was lucky enough to visit their North American headquarters last month. I’ve always been a big fan but I think their stuff is pretty unique in the cycling world. They really innovate. I like their style too. You can tell a rider wearing Assos from a mile away. The T.equipe bib shorts are awesome. They’re the best bib short I’ve ever ridden in.
And I think Rolf Wheels are awesome too. They’re such a good value and it’s a great wheel. My favorite is the Vigor. For the money, it’s a good option because it works so well with the terrain we have here in SLC. It’s bullet proof and it gives you some aero ability too. Good wheel.
But truly my favorite things at Contender are Ernie and Graham [Contender mechanic and proud new father -profile forthcoming]
To sum up, It’s just Graham. Zane’s a close second, though.
Anything else the people need to know?
I’m part of a Schwinn gang. We like to cruise around downtown on the weekends.
Do you ever get into any gang fights or turf wars?
No. We do bar spins though.
How close have any of you come to getting a tattoo of ‘Schwinn Gang 4 Life’ across your back?
Not. Not close at all. That’s idiotic.
Ok, Wiggs, let’s cut the crap, time for some hard hitting questions: Rumor has it you’re really good at sax.
Sax: The saxophone. My sources tell me you can really blow.
Yeah, well, I play sax on sax on sax on sax
So are you a sexy sax man?:
Yes. I’m the embodiment of everything sexy about the sax.
My original nickname in the shop was Captain Wiggles. I think I’ve graduated to Big Wigs now.
Fitting for the man who is godfather to Ernie, Cyrus and Leo
I needed something commanding. The mutts respond to authoritative titles.
Have you ever considered staring in your own brand of motivational speaking videos?
I have the perfect tag line.
Lay it on me.
Picture it. Lights are dimmed in a packed conference hall. Spot lights scan the stage.You jump out from behind a giant poster of your head, playing an especially sexy sax solo. As the music swells and the audience’s applause becomes a deafening roar, you turn to your audience and say, “Dig the Wigs”.
What ensues thereupon can only be described as pure pandemonium. The Wigs is big, the Wigs is very, very big.
Come in to Contender this Thursday, July 17th from 5pm until 7pm with your old, beat up (or beat down) helmet and get 25% off any Lazer helmet.
Look, we know a few of you have some nappy helmets. This is your chance to turn that embarrassment in to cash!
Our good friends at Lazer are going to be taking all the helmets traded in and completely recycling them.
That’s right! Any helmet that’s cracked, faded, or just ridiculously worn out can be traded in to be recycled and you get 25% off a gorgeously brand new Lazer Helmet.
Even if you’re not in the market for a new lid, this is a great way to get rid of an old helmet and make sure it’s recycled.
So go grab your nasty old helmet and come see us this Thursday, from 5PM to 7PM!