Stories From The Saddle

Dirty Kanza 100

DirtyKanza15_1358-(ZF-0203-02363-1-002)

Kansas is not flat.

DK100 RACE REPORT:

Mud.

I was on the fence the day before the Dirty Kanza 100 as to whether I’d even start. We were in town for the sponsor expo on Friday and it poured most of the day.

Race organizers were debating switching the course, or even calling the race. Reports coming in from recon jeeps out on course were very bad. Lots of high water and long stretches of potentially impassable roads. None of this did very much for the confidence,

Wet expo the day before the race.

Wet expo the day before the race.

particularly for a bike mechanic as inept as myself. The predicted conditions would be very hard on drivetrains and mechanicals would be inevitable. Potential for long hours stuck on the side of the road were high – this was of very high concern for me. Last year I suffered 11 flats and the 200 took me over 17 hrs, so I was a little sensitive about the mechanical side of things. I love riding. I don’t love walking or being stranded.

When we woke up at 4am on race day, it was raining. Ugh. At this point I made the decision that I just needed to commit to one step at a time. I did not look any further beyond the decision right in front of me. Get up. Get dressed. Go to breakfast. Kit up. Etc. I figured I’d get to the line and make a final call.

Deciding what to pack. In the end I took it all.

Deciding what to pack. In the end I took it all.

As a result of the impending doom on course I packed a very full camelbak. Full chain, chain tool, 4 tubes, 4 co2’s, hand pump, multitool, deralieur cables, 2 bottles of chain lube and a ton of food (I didn’t have support at the sag stop). I was NOT going to get stranded out there. As a result I started with probably an extra 20-25 pounds on my back. I didn’t care about racing (at the time), I just wanted to be prepared for anything.

The first 32 miles were hell. The first 12 miles were at road race pace through dirt, large puddles and a light rain. At mile 12 or 13 we hit the mud. I think it was 3 or 4 miles of walking and carrying the bike. From mile 16 or 17 to mile 32 it was a greasy mess. I was running 38c

The beginning of the mud.

The beginning of the mud.

vittoria voyagers which are perfect for dry conditions, but a  disaster for wet. I couldn’t keep my front wheel underneath me and every time a foot hit the ground I had to stop, get off the bike and undo all the muck from my cleat to be able to clip back in to the pedals. People on mountain bikes were flying by me. It was disheartening to say the least.

Finally at mile 32 (3hrs in!! The first 56 miles took over 5 hours!!) we got to dryer roads with fewer water crossings and mud puddles. All of a sudden I was riding again. Sometime between mile 32 and the sag stop at mile 56 I started thinking about a “result” again. I knew I was out of contention for a top 10 from all the messing around in the mud, but I didn’t have anything better to do with the rest of the day than to try and pass as many folks as possible and that’s when it got fun. By mile 90 I was passing people I remembered from the front group that morning. This did wonders for my bruised and muddy ego.

In the end, like with most things, I was glad I did it. Participating in the 10th Anniversary of the event was definitely special, but it was imagining my friend Joel giving me hell for wimping out that forced me to get it done. He would not have stood for such wimpiness.

 

A couple miles into the mud slog.

A couple miles into the mud slog.

Water crossing.

Water crossing.

Train crossing.

Train crossing.

North wind crossing.

North wind crossing.

 

Dirty Kanza 200

Decade of Dirty. Dirty Kanza 200 – 2015: Emporia, Kansas is now and forever will be the EPICcenter of Gravel Riding.  Every year forward will be compared to this year.  The 2015 Dirty Kanza 200 broke the rules, bikes, riders, spirits, hopes and dreams.  But it built legends.

Photo Credit: Eric Benjamin

Photo Credit: Eric Benjamin

Dirty Kanza 200 is supposed to be hard, that is the rule, 200 miles on gravel is hard, 200 miles in Kansas, in the Flint Hills on a nice day is hard.  That is the rule, it is hard already, but no Dirty Kanza 200 you decide to toss in miles of mud that cannot be ridden.  Miles of mud that a bike cannot be pushed along.  Miles of mud that the bike has to be carried over.  Miles of mud that tears a bicycle into little pieces. It wasn’t fair, that is against the rules we had agreed upon.  It is already hard Dirty Kanza 200, under optimum conditions it is hard, but you decided that you did not want to negotiate this agreement in good faith.  Dirty Kanza 200 you already have the upper hand in this relationship, but you want to take more than your share and that is not fair, you did not play by the rules.

Sure Dirty Kanza 200, we all know how hard and sharp your rocks are, we all debate over and over which tire to use, blah blah blah, yeah, you’re special in that way.  We know you have the ability to sideline 4×4 vehicles with flat tires, we get it and we respect that about you.  We also know you can break our puny bicycle wheels and challenge our stems, handlebars and seat posts, pretty much any part on the bicycle is subject to your evil tendencies to break nice things.  That is all agreed upon as part of the rules of conduct for you.  But Dirty Kanza 200, you didn’t follow those rules, you brought out this mud, no not traditional run of the mill garden mud, but devil mud, mud pulled up from the bilge of Hades.  It wasn’t really mud as it was a mix of wet cement, glue, spackling, goo, snot, dung, bicycle fly paper, derailleur poison, chain cancer…soul robbing mix of water and the Flint Hills of Kansas.  Impenetrable to many, but not to all.

You were not very nice this year Dirty Kanza 200.  You never really are, but this year, well, you kind of went over the top.  You broke more than bikes, you broke riders.  You broke riders physically, several were hauled off of you to a local hospital to begin their healing.  Not really what any rider had in mind.  You broke the spirit of many other riders for that day.  They just couldn’t continue riding you Dirty Kanza 200, it was just too much, with the mud and the broken bikes for many to continue on.  But not all were broken.

Dirty Kanza 200, you also broke hopes and dreams.  Some of the first riders that had to withdraw had trained for months, even years and had traveled hours or days all at the beckoning of your siren’s song.  You created them that dream, to ride and finish the Dirty Kanza 200.  But Dirty Kanza 200, you were greedy, you took advantage of them, you leveraged all your strength against them and then played your trump card and you still held the deck with 200 miles in it.  I guess you never have been fair with us, you always have had the upper hand, but never to this degree against this many.  But not all dreams were broken Dirty Kanza 200, and even though you may not like it, even after all that you tossed at the riders, many of them built new dreams on that day and realized them.  The human spirit is strong Dirty Kanza 200.  The human’s natural ability to hope is even stronger and yes, you threw it all at us, you still couldn’t break all our hopes to finish, and finish we did.

The legends crossed the line, over 400 of them crossed your finish line Dirty Kanza 200, you did your best, you did more than your best, but you lost Dirty Kanza 200, you lost big time! You lost so bad that some of the riders even sprinted against each other at the finish.  You left enough of them to still battle each other and not you at the finish.  So Dirty Kanza 200, bring it on, show us your best again, I will be there, I will ride you and I will beat you again next year, for I am part of the legend of Dirty Kanza 200, 2015.

Curt Shelman 5X Dirty Kanza 200 Finisher

Chamois Butt’r Report from Cyclocross Nationals 2015

Thanks to our friends at American Classic Pro Cycling for this great video from Cross Nationals 2015 in Austin, Texas.

Chamois Butt’r – Junk Salve

Chamois Butt'rChamois Butt'r

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to our friends at Mountain Magazine for the great Chamois Butt’r product review!

“Junk salve: We weren’t kidding about the Chamois Butt’r. Its an opiate. Once you start using, you dont stop. We’ve tried every brand, but the Chamois Butt’r Eurostyle blend is our favorite for long lasting performance and value-also that pleasant tingling reminiscent of a spa in the Alps. Or was that the opium? Swami forgets. Check out their Chamois Butt’r Sports Wash for quick apres ride cleanups-great before a long drive home.”

The Dirty Kanza 200

group shot cropped

2014 marked our third year as a sponsor of the The Dirty Kanza 200. We love this event and were happy to come on board as the Official Skin Care sponsor for the first time. We had incredible visibility with signage at packet pickup and podiums, Chamois Butt’r tents at SAG stops, banners at the finish and most importantly – 24 riders on course and countless support crew decked out in  purple and yellow – it was impossible to miss us!

For those that are not familiar with Dirty Kanza, it is a 203 mile gravel road race through the Flint Hills of Kansas. There are three support stops along the way – one every 50 miles. Each rider is required to have a support person to provide food, water and any additional help at each stop. Riders are not allowed to receive any assistance between stops. Support personnel are only allowed to go out on course to pick up riders who have abandoned the race. The race starts at 6am, riders must finish before 3am – the next day!

DK weekend started early for us this year. Our friends at Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop in Lawrence, KS hosted an event called Rebecca’s Race Rendezvous on Thursday night. This was a really fun opportunity to ride with Rebecca Rusch, a mountain bike world champion and the female winner of the last three editions of the Dirty Kanza. The short gravel ride was followed by a presentation at the shop as well as Q&A sessions with some of Rebecca’s sponsors including Garmin, Gu, Sram and Pro Gold.

Friday morning I drove down to Emporia early to meet Curt Shelman, help get everyone checked into the dorms and take care of any last minute preparations. It seems like for an event like this there is always one more thing to do. Friday night we hosted the entire Chamois Butt’r Team and all of their support crews at Gambino’s Pizza – there were nearly 60 of us! This turned out to be one of the highlights of the entire weekend. A big thanks to Gambino’s pizza for having us, we will definitely be back next year! It was so much fun to welcome a few new riders and catch up with those that we don’t get to see regularly (the Chamois Butt’r Cycling Team is based in Kansas City but we have riders throughout Kansas, Missouri and beyond).

Saturday – the big day! With a 6am roll out we were up and at ‘em by 4am. The dorm accommodation package included a buffet style breakfast at the Emporia State University cafeteria. Groggy eyed and nervous, we all went down to feast on breakfast burritos, biscuits and gravy, fruit, bagels and anything else we could get down at such an early hour. For most people eating at that time of day is not so common, and can be somewhat of a challenge.

After breakfast it was time to get suited up and head to the start. Even at 5:30am Commercial Street was already buzzing with riders, fans, photographers and a video drone! The Grenada Theatre makes for a fantastic backdrop to this crazy scene. Riders are lined up by their estimated finish times – 12 hour finishers in the front, 14 hour finishers behind them, and so on. The field of riders stretched back for several city blocks. After a few nervous moments the count down came over the loud speaker and we were off! It would be many, many hours before we would see that little stretch of pavement on Commercial street again.

Overall the Chamois Butt’r Team had an incredibly successful day. 23 of our 24 starters finished, several age group podiums and 1 win for Curt Shelman! We are already making plans for next year, hope to see you there!

The Dirty Kanza 200

Curt Shelman on the top step!

The Dirty Kanza 200

Karen Borgstedt on the podium!

The Dirty Kanza 200

Ben and Colin at the start!

 

Chamois Butt’r – Bike Expo New York

bike expo new york

Bike Expo New York – The calm before the storm.

I left Kansas City on Wednesday, April 30th headed for NYC and the Bike Expo New York leading up to the infamous 5 Borough Bike Tour. I lived in New York for almost ten years before moving to KC so I was excited to be headed back and it proved to be a really successful weekend. The trip up was a little rocky with severe thunderstorms in the northeast resulting in a long layover in Chicago, but in the end I made it safely.

Thursday morning I was up early and jumping on the F train to head to Basketball City, the event venue for Bike Expo New York. I had shipped our booth equipment ahead of time so I was happy to see that everything had been delivered on time. Tina Gargiulo and her team did an excellent job with logistics and making sure everything ran smoothly for the vendors.

Once booth set up was complete I was anxious to head out and see some old friends. First on the list, Bicycle Habitat in Soho. I have known Charlie and his son Matt McCorkell for years. I’ve purchased 3 bikes out of that shop over the years. They even sold me my first tube of Chamois Butt’r (true story)! Charlie has really expanded his operations in the last few years with an additional space in SoHo (a neighborhood south of Houston Street in Manhattan) as well as new locations in Chelsea and Park Slope,Brooklyn.

Friday was opening day of Bike Expo New York – it was one of the busiest expo days I have ever experienced. We had seen the numbers before committing to attend, but I was still shocked at the volume of people coming through the expo. Our booth was located on the first corridor heading into packet pickup, so we had audience with every participant that came through the expo. It was fun to introduce our Chamois Butt’r products to so many new fans!

Hundreds of new Chamois Butt'r fans!

Hundreds of new Chamois Butt’r fans!

Saturday was the second and final day of the expo. If Friday was busy then Saturday was downright chaotic.  By midday all of the retailers at the show were completely sold out of Chamois Butt’r and by mid-afternoon we were completely out of samples. Thanks to REI, Beacon Bikes and Bicycle Habitat for making our products available at the show! Next year we will know to stock everyone up with plenty more Original Chamois Butt’r, Eurostyle Chamois Butt’r and Her’ Chamois Butt’r!

Sunday and Monday morning I spent riding around the city and visiting bike shops. It was great to see our Chamois Butt’r products on so many shelves. Special thanks to Strictly Bicycles, R&A Bikes, Ride Brooklyn, 9th Street Cycles and Bicycle Habitat for taking the time to visit with me!

Chamois Butt’r at the Bicycle Leadership Conference and Sea Otter Classic

Sea Otter!

Sea Otter!

Chamois Butt’r president Steve Mathews and I (Ben Woodbury) made our annual trek out to Monterey, California recently to attend the Bicycle Leadership Conference and the Sea Otter Classic. Although this trip requires a lot of work and time away from the office, it is one we really look forward to. If you have ever been to Monterey you know it is absolutely beautiful – and the Sea Otter Classic is aptly named.

Bicycle Leadership Conference is a 3 day event for members of the bicycle industry to attend presentations, network and of course ride! Some of the themes covered this year included e-bikes, social media, youth in cycling, bicycle industry statistics and more. I think most would agree though that the presentation from Chris Werner on Leadership From The Top stood out the most. Chris has summited Mt. Everest and K2 on several occasions. His stories are incredible, check him out here.

Bicycle Leadership at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Bicycle Leadership at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

One of the highlights of the Bicycle Leadership Conference is the dinner at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The evening includes fantastic food, live music and access to a beautiful aquarium that is closed to the public – it is a really unique experience.

Sea Otter Classic is a four day “celebration of cycling.” It includes a festival expo area hosting hundreds of bicycle companies promoting products from bicycles, helmets, nutrition, cycling clothing, bicycle cleaning products, bicycle racks as well as great food and LOTS of beer from Sierra Nevada. In addition to the festival expo there is also a Gran Fondo and bicycle racing in all the major disciplines. For the mountain bikers you can race cross country, downhill, dual slalom and short track. For the road cyclists there is a circuit race, a criterium, a road race and a time trial. They have also added a cyclocross race in recent years.

Our booth in the expo at Sea Otter was constantly busy. It was great to see so many long time fans of our products and to introduce Chamois Butt’r to those that had not used it. We continue to receive universally positive feedback on our women’s specific Her’ Chamois Butt’r. We are very proud of every aspect of this product and love telling the story. A big thanks to Karen Jarchow and Scott Moninger for helping out!

Sea Otter Classic has traditionally been known as the unofficial kick off to racing in North America. For this reason it is a great opportunity for us to connect with many of our sponsored teams including KHS-Maxxis p/b Jakroo, Scott 3 Rox Racing, Optum Health p/b KBS and 5-HR Energy. We always appreciate seeing our friends from the pro peloton!

Always good to see the 3Rox Racing crew!

Always good to see the 3Rox Racing crew!

Optum Pro Cycling Riders stocking up before their race!

Optum Pro Cycling Riders stocking up before their race!

If you ever have the opportunity to attend Sea Otter Classic I highly recommend it. Weather you are a pro racer, a cycling enthusiast or just a lover of good food and beer this event has something for everyone. We had a fantastic time and look forward to going back next year!

Sea Otter bike fest!

Sea Otter bike fest!

 

Her’ Chamois Butt’r – “Understated Femininity” A review by Sarah Zaharchuk

I was sitting down to write a new blog yesterday when I received a tweet from Sarah Zaharchuk, who I have never met. Included in the tweet was a link to a review of our new Her’ Chamois Butt’r product in the January 2014 issue of Florida Cycling Magazine. Not only is the review of Her’ Chamois Butt’r very positive (thank you Sarah) but it is also remarkable because Sarah picks up on many of the aspects of the product and packaging that we worked very hard to achieve. Her title alone, “Understated Femininity” is perfect – we could not have said it better ourselves. So without further adieu, guest Chamois Butt’r blogger, Sara Zaharchuk:

 

HER’ CHAMOIS BUTT’R

Her' Chamois Butt'r 8oz Tube. $15.99.

Her’ Chamois Butt’r 8oz Tube. $15.99.

“Understated Femininity” by Sarah Zaharchuk

I felt some apprehension when presented with the opportunity to try Her’ Chamois Butt’r. Her’ is the brand’s new women-specific product that was introduced in May of this year. I was already a happy user of the original Chamois Butt’r and was unsure that I would be any happier with a women-specific product. After several months of using Her’, I concluded that I am actually happier with this women-specific product. Her’ Chamois Butt’r hits the mark with its understated femininity, universal appeal, and performance benefits.

Appearance:

My first judgments of the product came from my comparison of the packaging between Her’ and the original Chamois Butt’r product. I enjoyed that the Her’ packaging was not bright pink but rather a shade of lavender. This contrasts the yellow cap of the original product. It also made for a nice product display when they were side by side. The lavender was enough to pick up that it was a women-specific product without being too overt about it. The lavender color also drew a clever connection to one of the product’s main ingredients, lavender oil.

Formulation:

Her was formulated with a different pH-balance to address the needs of women. Special ingredients include lavender oil, aloe vera, green tea leaf extract, tea tree oil, and shea butter. This gives the product a smoother feel than the original and makes it rather pleasant to apply. It also gives the product a natural, appealing scent with the main note being the lavender oil. Again Her’ is not too overt here as the scent is not perfume-y. This is in line with the understated feminine theme already set by the product packaging.

Benefits:

Her’ has many performance benefits that help to keep the saddle area happy, especially on longer rides. If you are not already using a Chamois cream, I highly recommend that you start using one. Chamois cream helps to lubricate and protect skin from chafing, saddle sores, and other unpleasant feelings in the saddle area. Not only does Her’ deliver in these areas, but it also offers additional skin softening properties over the original formulation.

As i first tested out the Her’ product, I would switch back between Her’ and the original product to see if I could tell a difference. At first i really could not, so i used only the Her’ product for a few weeks. Then I went to use the original product and I definitely noticed a difference between the two. Specifically, in how each one felt to apply and how each one felt on my skin. My clear preference was for the Her’ product and my skin agreed. I never knew what my chamois was missing out on and now I do not want to use anything else. I think Chamois Butt’r for developing a product that is truly tailored to the specific needs of women, yete also has an attractive understated femininity. More brands should follow the path set by Her’ Chamois Butt’r and look to what women really want and need that may be different from men. And they should also follow Her’ by marketing products with the right level of femininity!

 

Sarah Zaharchuk began cycling in November 2012 to get some excersize while letting knee problems, acquired while running, heal. She fell in love with the sport and rides regularly following a training program. She is sharing her experiences with FCM readers, seen through the eyes of a new cyclist who is excited to progress within the sport. Sarah currently lives in the Tampa Bay area where she works as a Supplier Quality Engineer.

Check out the original article here:

HER REVIEW FLORIDA CYCLING MAGAZINE

RAGBRAI Announcement Party & Iowa Bicycle Expo – Chamois Butt’r

Iowa Bike Expo Chamois Butt'r Booth

 Saturday, January 25th 2014 the Iowa Bicycle Coalition hosted the Iowa Bike Expo and RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party. We had not been to the Bike Expo in a few years and have never attended the RAGBRAI party, so we headed to Des Moines, IA to see what it was all about.

Steve Mathews (President, Paceline Products, Inc) and I (Ben Woodbury, Marketing Manager) left Kansas City Friday night after work to head up to Des Moines. It is about a two and a half hour drive, so by the time we got there it was straight to dinner and then to the hotel to get some rest.

Saturday started early with a 7am set up for the expo at the Iowa Events Center. Mark Wyatt and his Iowa Bicycle Coalition crew did an amazing job with the event. It was one of the most seamless load-ins I have ever experienced (and we have been to a LOT of expo’s over the years). Once our booth was set up it was time to grab something quick to eat and get ready for the show to open at 10am.

The show itself was a lot of fun, many familiar faces in neighboring booths and a steady stream of traffic for most of the day. It was great to talk to so many RAGBRAI riders, many of whom were familiar with our products and some that were not. The ladies were all really happy to learn about our new Her’ Chamois Butt’r, the first ever chamois cream pH balanced specifically for women. Another popular item was our Sports Kit Wash. This hand washing detergent for technical fabrics is perfect for a multi-day event like RAGBRAI.

The expo wrapped up at 5:30 and the place emptied out pretty quickly. We packed up the booth and set out to find some local fare to replenish ourselves before getting ready to party with the RAGBRAI crew, and 1200 of their closest friends! The party was sold out!

After enjoying a nice meal and a quick trip back to the hotel to change, we returned to the Iowa Events Center for the much anticipated RAGBRAI Announcement Party. It was held in the Grand Ballroom on the fourth floor of the building. The room was enormous and they needed every inch of it. With 1200 guests, a full band on stage, dance floor, live-stream interview station, photo booth, 4 or 5 food stations, multiple bars AND a large silent auction it was quite the sight to behold. It was lots of fun to see peoples’ reactions when their home towns were announced as host cities. I also found it amusing that the shorter ride days got MUCH louder applause than the longer ride days.  T.J. Juskiewicz, RAGBRAI Director and friend of Chamois Butt’r, did a fantastic job hosting the evening.Iowa RAGBRAI party

Full Schedule of Overnight Host Towns:

Rock Valley – Okoboji – Emmetsburg – Forest City – Mason City – Waverly – Independence – Guttenberg

All in all it was a fantastic trip to Des Moines. All the RAGBRAI talk brought a little bit of summer warmth to an otherwise frigid midwestern weekend. Really looking forward to seeing everyone again in Rock Valley, Iowa July 19th at the RAGBRAI Expo!

Jingle Cross Rock – Chamois Butt’r

This past weekend was the 10th annual Jingle Cross Rock in Iowa City, Iowa. Jingle Cross Rock is a three day cyclocross (off road bicycling discipline) festival directed by John Meehan, a doctor

The Grinch!

The Grinch!

who specializes in robotic surgery. On top of being a surgeon and a race director, John is also the team physician at Bissell Pro Cycling, a team that we worked with in 2013. All proceeds from the event are donated to the Childrens Hospital of Iowa. Held on the Johnson County Fairgrounds with a Christmas theme Jingle Cross has lots of interesting features you don’t always see at a typical cross race. Some examples include yule tide logs for riders to run over, long sandpits through barns, tight turns through horse stables, the infamous Mt. Krumpit and of course The Grinch himself popping up in unexpected places.

I drove up to Iowa City early on Friday to get the lay of the land and have plenty of time to warm up before my race. This was my first Jingle Cross so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. As soon as I parked I was greeted by some familiar faces – Chamois Butt’r champion Justin Bowes and Chamois Butt’r sponsored Half Acre Cycling rider Andrea Devine. It didn’t take me long to find KC’s own Chamois Butt’r spornsored rider Bill Marshall either. Followed almost immediately by a Brook Watts (CX Vegas promoter) run in. I knew I’d be among friends! After chatting for a few minutes it was time to kit up and get a few laps in on the course. As previously mentioned this course had a lot of really fun (hard) features that required (most) riders to get on and off the bike countless times per lap. It was challenging even at warm up pace. Soon it was time to head to the line for the start of the Geoff’s Bike & Ski Cat 3 Men’s Race. Having registered late, my position in the starting grid was almost all the way at the back. I knew I was going to have my work cut out for me if I ever expected to see the front of the race – I didn’t, but it was still fun. Racing under the lights with a huge crowd is always a treat!  One of the unique things about cyclocross is that fans are more inclined to cheer you on regardless of whether you are first, last or anywhere in between. There is definitely a party atmosphere at a cross race – exemplified perfectly on top of Mt. Krumpit (the Dr. Suess themed hill in the center of the venue is utilized in a number of different ways. Each day was different, and seemingly harder than the day before). So after my race it was up Mt Krumpit I climbed to partake in the revelry with a huge crowd of screaming fans, a DJ and Deschuttes Brewery (many of whose products ended up in Chamois Butt’r Koozies)!

Saturday we woke up to cloudy skies and strong winds. Cold weather riding in store, on went the eurostyle® embrocation. I got to the course and immediately set up the trainer so I could warm up without having to fight the wind, on went the Chamois Butt’r®. Rain was clearly going to be a factor as well.

In addition to racing on Saturday I had some business to attend to. Our good friends at Optum Pro Cycling p/b KBS would be graciously hosting myself and photographer Wil Mathews for a post-race photo shoot to highlight our eurostlye® Sports Skin Wash. Riders Jeremy Durrin and Tristan Schouten along with staff members Mike Gavagan and Evan Mumford welcomed us graciously. The weather definitely played in our favor, conditions were perfect for mud and allowed us to highlight the cleaning benefits of the product. If you haven’t checked it out yet, click here.

Perhaps the highlight of the day was the Grinch’s Kids Race. These kids were super excited and easily as entertaining as the Pro’s. The race was free for the kids and each participant received a gift as photo(4)they exited the course back into Whoville.

Shortly after the kids race it was time to find a strategic spot to watch the elite men’s and women’s races. The most popular spot on course was again on Mt Krumpit. Instead of watching riders run up an incredibly steep and muddy pitch, we were watching the riders descend an equally steep side of the hill. There were three muddy switchbacks on the decent, which was more fun to watch than ride!

I cannot over state how much fun Jingle Cross was, and I have been to a LOT of cycling events. There was literally something for everyone – men, women, children, riders, fans…you name it. Dates for 2014 were just announced (November 14,15 and 16). I recommend making your plans now, I know I will.

Optum riders Jeremy Durrin and Tristan Schouten cool down after Saturday's race.

Optum riders Jeremy Durrin and Tristan Schouten cool down after Saturday’s race.

Jeremy Powers, Ben Berden & Jamie Driscoll. Friday night podium.

Jeremy Powers, Ben Berden & Jamie Driscoll. Friday night podium.

Crowds atop Mt. Krumpit Friday night.

Crowds atop Mt. Krumpit Friday night.

Gravelicious Gravel Grinder – Chamois Butt’r

Timothy Place aka GRIZZ

Timothy Place aka GRIZZ

Saturday morning was the first edition of the Gravelicious Gravel Grinder in Platte City, Missouri – about 25 miles northwest of Kansas City. Chamois Butt’r was on site and ready to go! The start finish location was the parking lot of the Jowler Creek Winery, who were very gracious to let us use their space on a busy autumn weekend. We can’t thank them enough for having us. Check out their website for upcoming events and buy some wine!

The event consisted of two separate loops both starting and finishing at the winery. The first was a 58 mile loop with 6,500 feet of climbing. The second was a slightly flatter 53 mile loop with 3,500 feet of climbing. There were a couple short paved sections, but for the most part all 111 miles were on gravel. 49 cyclists started the first loop, and 6 finished the entire race. The event was put on by our own Chamois Butt’r Cycling Team member Timothy Place. Tim is a gravel connoisseur and no stranger to long, long, long days in the saddle. It is not uncommon for Tim to get up on a Saturday or Sunday and eat 130 miles of gravel for breakfast, solo. There is a reason Tim chose to ride for the Chamois Butt’r Cycling Team!

I sat down with Tim this morning to chat about the race and find out what inspired him to trade his bicycle helmet for a promoter’s cap.

CB: What inspired you to put on this cycling event Tim?

Tim: I had a couple of things motivating me.  First, I wanted a longish hard gravel event in the autumn to race myself — and there aren’t many, especially in this area. Second, the roads we ride on in Northwest Missouri are breathtakingly beautiful and brutally hilly, but no one knows about them! Finally, I have benefited from the efforts of others putting on gravel cycling events such as Dirty Kanza 200, Tour of Hermann, and Gravel Worlds.  I thought it was time for me to stop being just a taker and try to give something back to the gravel community.

CB: What was your goal when designing the course?

Tim: I more or less copied the logistical handling and cue sheet format from Gravel Worlds and the course layout from Tour of Hermann.  Both Corey Godfrey and Jeff Yielding were extremely helpful and happy to let me steal their best ideas!

Tour of Hermann is organized as a series of loops all starting and ending at Stone Hill Winery.  I observed that this was ideal for allowing folks take as much or as little of the challenge as they could handle and it made the event more attractive to a larger number of people.  It also provided a hub for community and camaraderie throughout the day.

With that format as the starting point, I basically designed a course that I’d like to challenge myself on.  Then when I thought of others riding it and started feeling like I’d be responsible for them I got really stressed out.  I’d be thinking about where there are dogs on the course, how do I make sure everyone is going downhill on those parts?  How do you maximize the ratio of gravel roads to paved sections?  How do I avoid dangerous intersections?  How long can I make the event and still be reasonably assured everyone is in before dark?  In the end I had to leave out some of my favorite hills.  I guess that leaves something for next year!

CB: Speaking of next year, do you have any specific plans? Most of us will need to start training today – Saturday was an extremely challenging course!

Tim: I don’t know details yet.  I was surprised how much fun it was to organize and direct the event when I wasn’t actually riding myself!  I was also surprised by the huge range of cyclists, from Cat 1 road racers on one extreme to a guy whose New Year’s resolution was to ride his first 50-miler this year.  After working at it all year he accomplished his goal at the Gravelicious, doing it the hard way! It was so gratifying to see people at the end hanging-out with a bottle of wine and the homemade pumpkin pies feeling like they’d really accomplished something.  How could you not want more of that?  All of the feedback has been extremely positive.  I’d really like to do it again!

I couldn’t have done it without Chamois Butt’r!  If I didn’t have the support of Chamois Butt’r when I first asked about putting on the event, then I most likely would have thrown in the towel and not even tried.  So thank you for the support and making it happen!!!

We had a fantastic time with 3 Chamois Butt’r employees, Curt Shelman COO, Colin Shelman Accountant and myself (Ben Woodbury) in addition to 4 other Chamois Butt’r Team riders. Tim did an amazing job putting on his first event. The course was challenging but safe, the weather was perfect, and the pumpkin pie was out of this world! We look forward to seeing what Tim comes up with next!

Be sure to check the Gravelicious Facebook Page (Tim posted the Pumpkin Pie recipe, check it out!) or the Chamois Butt’r Facebook Page for updates and information on other upcoming events.

See you on the road!

Colin, Bobby and Greg at about mile 5.

Colin, Bobby and Greg at about mile 5.

Gravelicious 2

Colin Shelman leads the charge!

Curt Shelman grinding up the climb!

Curt Shelman grinding up the climb!

Ben Woodbury trying to catch Colin!

Ben Woodbury trying to catch Colin!

So good.

So good.

 

Octoginta Weekend 2014

Photo Cred: Andy White

Photo Cred: Andy White

It was a busy weekend of riding, racing and enjoying beautiful weather for the Chamois Butt’r crew. We participated in the Octoginta Tour de County, the expo and bike swap, Octoginta Sunday ride and CX

Out Cancer cross race.

Saturday morning Chamois Butt’r president Steve Mathews headed over to Broken Arrow park in Lawrence, KS to participate in the Octoginta Tour de County. Steve was one of about 50 riders that took part in the 30 mile ride. I rode my bike from Kansas City to meet Steve and Curt, who had driven out with all of our expo gear. It was a beautiful morning for a ride, though I was glad to have muscle warming embrocation as it was a bit cool in the morning. We had our booth set up by about 1pm and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon talking with riders, checking out the swap meet cycling gear and enjoying the nice fall weather.

Sunday morning Chamois Butt’r COO Curt Shelman lead a team of 5 Chamois Butt’r Cycling Team riders on the 80 mile Octoginta ride. This year was the 44th edition of Octoginta, which is hosted by the Lawrence Bicycle Club. One of the highlights of the ride was the amazing breakfast provided by our friends at Sunflower Outdoor & Bike Shop.  As you can see from the picture, the food was really popular with the Chamois Butt’r riders!

On Sunday in Kansas City, I headed out to Shawnee Mission Park for this year’s edition of Cross Out Cancer – a local cyclocross race put on by Midwest Velo to raise money for cancer research. The event was very well run, well attended and they had pulled pork sandwiches which are always a crowd favorite! The course was challenging, fun, and as is often the case here in the Midwest, the wind played a significant role as well.

All in all it was a fantastic weekend on two wheels. On deck for midweek riding – Tuesday night hammer fest, Wednesday Cross practice and hopefully some mountain biking Thursday night. It’s a great time of year to mix it up!

We’d love to hear about your adventures on a bicycle. Feel free to tell us what you are up to in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page.

See you on the road!

Ben Woodbury

Viva Las Vegas

Well the dust has settled from another year in the desert so we figured it was about time to re-cap our week in Vegas at Interbike 2013, September 16-20th.Viva Las Vegas

The show was held at Mandalay Bay this year for the first time. Like everyone else we weren’t sure what to expect from the new location and what effect it might have on logistics. For us, like other companies that attend the western hemishpere’s largest bicycle industry trade show, we enjoyed a comfortable routine at the Sands Convention Center for years. Other than learning the new lay of the land, everything went very smooth. Of course there were varying opinions on the show floor layout, but all in all I thought getting around was the same as it always is. The likelihood of getting turned around is due to the distraction of all of  the new and exciting bikes and cycling gear everywhere.  Most of the big companies have enormous signage hanging from the ceiling – so a good method for finding your way around is to familiarize yourself with the road map up high. We were right next to Maxxis (our distributed tire brand) this year, so that was our ‘north star.’

For the second consecutive year, we sponsored the Cross Vegas cyclocross race which takes place the Wednesday night of Interbike week. It’s a great place to connect with industry friends off of the show floor, enjoy some tacos, a cold beverage and watch the poor souls on the race course gasping for air but mostly finding dust!  I left the show early on Wednesday to go race the Wheeler & Dealer event. This event is open category, and consists of riders that work in the bicycle industry. The race was pretty crazy, fun and of course HOT. As if racing in the heat were not enough, the experience was made even more challenging by a course with multiple run-ups, two flyovers, a berm and some really slow grass. Not being a CX racer with a ton of experience I was a bit intimidated at first. There are a lot of spectators heckling, but it turned out to just be super fun.

Thursday night was the USA Criterium Series Finals. Our longstanding friends at United Healthcare Pro Cycling hosted a gathering at their team bus for sponsors and friends. It was fun to see everyone, enjoy some snacks, and again watch some fast racing. UHC also happened to win the race so it was an exciting place to be. A mysterious round of blue liquid was passed around to celebrate the win, tasted good but went down like hot embrocation! We were also invited to a party hosted by Bicycling Magazine. Their tent was located on the start finish line of the course, so it made for great spectating.

The show itself, which runs Wednesday through Friday, was a huge success for us this year. We were happy to connect with all of our partners. Our location was not far from the main entrance so we had a lot of foot traffic coming by. It was a great opportunity for us to continue to promote our new products Her’ Chamois Butt’r (the first ever chamois cream pH balanced specifically for women) & Sports Kit Wash (for hand washing technical apparel). And of course we were excited to see many of our sponsored athletes – thanks again to Geoff Kabush and our hometown hero Brad Huff for stopping by our booth to say hello and sign their new life size images on our booth backdrop.

For any company that attends Interbike, it takes  a lot of resources and is a lot of work. Every year the run up to the event is somewhat stressful and takes a lot time to put together. It’s funny though, because that is not what sticks with me after the event, it’s all the great people, companies and events. The bike industry is a good place to be, and we are happy to call it home.

Brad Huff Geoff Kabush cropped

A sad goodby to one of our own

It is with great sadness that we, along with all of cycling, mourn the passing of Amy Dombroski. A gifted and driven athlete, Amy was also a wonderfully compassionate and giving person, amy 3serving as a tremendous role model for her peers and her fans. We’re proud and honored that she chose to be a part of the Chamois Butt’r family.

In the near future you’ll see print advertising from us featuring imagery of Amy in her element; battling the odds and holding nothing back on course. This may be inaccurately viewed by some as inappropriately promotional in the face of great tragedy. To our fans and friends, many of whom  also knew Amy – please know that the ad was submitted many weeks ago. Efforts to pull it were made immediately upon hearing the terrible news, but proved ultimately unsuccessful; the issue had already been printed.

We offer our sincere apology in advance of any misperception of our intent. It is our hope that readers will elect to view this inspiring image of Amy as a tribute to her undeniable gifts; as an elite competitor and an exceptional human being. Her absence creates a void in our cycling community that will forever remain unfilled.

To Amy’s family and to the rest of the cycling community who were privileged to call her a friend; we share your grief.

Sadly,

Steve Mathews – President
Paceline Products & Chamois Butt’r

Chamois Butt’r® | Bike shorts with a chamois are a must for any rider

Photo of Chamois Butt'r Riders on Dirty Kanza

Chamois Butt’r® Team Riders experiencing the Dirty Kanza

We all know that awkward feeling walking through a crowded coffee shop in spandex, but we wouldn’t do it if bike shorts didn’t  play an important role for cyclists – providing needed comfort and function while on the bike.

Here are some ways that donning your cycling shorts with a chamois make that brief coffee shop awkwardness worth it.

Benefits of Bike Specific Shorts

  • Padding to increase comfort in the saddle
  • Flexible materials for full range of motion
  • Breathability
  • Reduced air resistance
  • No loose material to get caught in spinning wheels or drivetrain

Like any cycling gear, there are various factors to consider when choosing cycling shorts or bib shorts (cycling shorts with ‘shoulder straps’ to prevent sag. The rider behind you doesn’t want you to have sag).

Here are some guidelines we’ve found helpful.

  • Price – higher quality cycling shorts are typically made with better materials resulting in improved durability and function.
  • Construction – cycling shorts are manufactured with panels ranging from 4 to 12.  A higher number of panels results in a better contour and fit.
  • Padding – the chamois (padding) in the seat can vary in thickness and width, so look at a few different options before making a decision.

 

Pro Tip!

Never wear underwear under bike shorts.  Bike specific shorts are designed to breathe and transfer moisture away from the body unlike underwear. Any extra layer between your skin and your cycling shorts will only increase friction. To prevent chafing and saddle sores, use Chamois Butt’r® high quality chamois cream every time you ride.

 

Logo Image of Butt'r Make It Better

 

Chamois Butt’r® | Prevent Saddle Sores with Chamois Butt’r® Chamois Cream

Photo of rider with Chamois Butt'r® Chamois Cream

Chamois Butt’r® Chamois Cream prevents saddle sores – keeping riders comfortable and happy.

Saddle sores are a dreaded skin affliction common among cyclists. Directly caused by the friction associated with pedaling and saddle position, an untreated saddle sore can keep you off the bike for weeks. Not to mention how uncomfortable they are.

Levels of severity range from chafing to skin ulceration. From the top professional riders to the cycling enthusiast, failure to take preventative measures can result in a saddle sore.

Friction is inevitable; however, here are some tips to help reduce it and prevent saddle sores.

Tips to prevent saddle sores:

  • Improve bike fit by adjusting saddle position and height, as well as stem length and height. Stem and handlebar position are just as important as saddle position as they help determine the angle of your position in the saddle.
  • Use cycling specific shorts with a chamois
  • Select a supportive saddle that is not too wide or too narrow. Your local bike shop is a good resource to help you make that determination.
  • Eliminate friction with a high quality chamois cream like Chamois Butt’r

If you get a saddle sore, treat with triple antibiotic ointment. Keep the affected area clean and dry at all times.  If the condition does not improve after a day or two, contact your physician for proper treatment to avoid further discomfort and possible infection.

Learn more about Chamois Butt’r® Chamois Cream.

 

Logo Image of Butt'r Make It Better

 

Chamois Butt’r® | Chamois Cream – The best cycling gear you are not using!

Original Chamois Buttr® Products.

Original Chamois Buttr® Products.

Proper cycling gear is a must for professional and recreational cyclists to be both safe and comfortable when riding.

Most cyclists have helmets, shoes, gloves and cycling shorts, but they’re missing out on one final important piece of cycling gear – Chamois Butt’r® Chamois Cream!

Lots of non-cyclist often joke about riders walking around in tight bike shorts but cycling specific shorts with a chamois play an important role for riders – the chamois in the seat of the shorts is padding to help reduce discomfort while in the saddle.

Chamois cycling shorts with a chamois make a huge difference compared to regular shorts.  They improve aerodynamics, there is no loose fabric around to impede smooth leg movement and the pad keeps things padded.

The final piece of cycling gear that smart riders use is chamois cream – cream for the chamois padding in the shorts.

 

“A random survey shows only 20% of riders are using Chamois Cream.”

 

Now you’re probably wondering. What is Chamois Cream and how do I use it?

Chamois cream is a skin lubricant designed to reduce friction when riding to help protect against chafing and saddle sores and to generally improve riding comfort.

Applying chamois cream is easy.  Apply liberally to skin and chamois of the shorts before each ride. It can also be applied to any skin areas that rub together or against clothing.

There are various chamois creams on the market, but Chamois Butt’r® is the original non-greasy chamois cream and the favorite of professional and recreational cyclists.  Why? Because it’s manufactured with quality ingredients following good manufacturing practice guidelines and easily washes off skin and out of shorts with soap and water.

Stop by your local Bike Shop and pick-up some Chamois Butt’r® Chamois Cream and say goodbye to chafing and hello to improved riding comfort.

 

Logo Image of Butt'r Make It Better

 

 

Chamois Butt’r® | Raleigh Bicycle Demo

Image from Raleigh Demo Days 2013 in KC

Raleigh Demo Days 2013 in Kansas City at Swope Park

I’ve been to many events where bike demos are happening, but have never actually been able to participate and ride the bikes because usually I’m working the events for Chamois Butt’r.

But my luck changed last weekend when Raleigh Bicycle Demo Days came to Swope Park in Kansas City. Swope has about 15 miles of mountain bike trails and is a popular destination for weekend road riders as well. It’s a great way to get from inside Kansas City to the endless open roads and cornfields south. Point being, it’s an excellent venue to ride different styles of bicycles.

We have many friends in the bike industry and don’t like to play favorites. High quality bikes – like people – come in all different shapes and sizes under a variety of names and titles. But I’ll give a shoutout to our friend Tony Stanislav and new friend Drew Esherick from Raleigh. These guys were great with riders of all abilities and were genuinely excited about the products they were there to promote.

Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperative. Lots of rain Thursday night into Friday morning cast doubt on whether Swope’s trails would be open. When I arrived midmorning on Saturday, there were only a few people around. The upside, though, was that ALL of the bikes were available. I started with a full carbon CX bike with Shimano 105 and disc breaks. Dean Parker, a friend and lead mechanic/fit whiz at the local Trek Store of Shawnee (see, we really don’t play favorites), was there and up for some CX practice too, so we suited up and hit the road. The trail and the surrounding fields were still damp at the time, so we stuck mostly to the road, finding a relatively dry soccer field that gave us the opportunity to get a feel for how the CX bikes felt in their (somewhat) natural habitat. The bikes rode well. I’m still pretty indifferent to disc breaks in general, but under more CX-ish conditions I’m sure they would have stood out more. Dean and I rode for about an hour and then decided to take the bikes back just in case there were any non-industry bike geeks (actual potential customers) there who wanted a turn.

Photo of the Raleigh Talus 29 Carbon Pro

Raleigh Talus 29 Carbon Pro

By this time the trails were dry enough to ride, so I spent the rest of the day on fat tires. I started on a full carbon hard tail with front suspension. The bike rode well and handled the terrain at Swope perfectly. My own mountain bike is a single speed, so it took a minute to get used to having to make gear choices, particularly in the more technical rocky sections.

I came off my last lap on the trail just in time to see the Butt’r King himself, Steve Mathews, heading out on one of the carbon road bikes. One of the highlights of the day, though, was getting the chance to meet riders we didn’t know from other parts of Kansas City, including the guys from Dirty Dog Race Pack – a group of gravel riders from Lee’s Summit. We capped off the day with bagels, cold beer and some good laughs. It was a good day on two wheels!

Ben Woodbury
Marketing Manager
Chamois Butt’r / Paceline Products

Chamois Butt’r® | Bike friendly communities attract young professionals

Bike Lane

Bicycle Lanes Contribute To Bicycle Friendly Communities

Bike friendly communities are steadily increasing around the USA. Today’s increased focus on consuming less and living more sustainably contributes to the interest in urban cycling as a transportation choice for young city dwellers.

 

Understandably, cities are taking notice and capitalizing on this shift. Building work/life infrastructures that enthusiastically support this trend allows cities to remain economically competitive and appeal to a vibrant young adult workforce that seeks a satisfying balance of work and active lifestyle.

 

Employers also reap benefits from the ability to hire a young, energetic population of professionals who are comfortable and committed to living an urban lifestyle. These talented workers are eager to take advantage of all the benefits of city living – including short commutes. The variety of convenient amenities also appeal to this demographic, from international cuisine to professional sports events to boutique-style shopping to a proliferation of cultural and educational events.

 

Contributions to the development of bicycle friendly communities that appeal to today’s young adults are many:

  • Increased attention to cyclists’ needs – designated bicycle lanes, bicycle sharing, larger sidewalks, designated urban trails and close regional transit
  • Young urban professional lifestyle – mixed use areas that boast boutique-style stores, cafes, restaurants, sports events and multi-cultural offerings
  • Sustainable practices – bicycle sharing, car-sharing, collaborative consumption programs

 

So it’s understandable that urban planners now include bicycle friendly amenities like trails and bike paths when considering urban improvements. Especially bike friendly urban communities across the USA include Boulder CO, Austin TX, Minneapolis MN and Portland OR.

 

Learn more about bicycle friendly communities online at:

The League of American Bicyclists

Pedestrian and Bicycling Information Center