Heartland Revival Tour

Tomorrow I will embark on a 12 day road trip in the Feedback Sports van. It’s packed with Feedback product and Foundry cyclocross bikes. Moki, my dog, will join me for the adventure. We will be visiting bike shops throughout the heartland and hitting some CX races on the weekends.

3 years ago, the Heartland Tour was born. I was a new hire at Feedback Sports when Sammy and I drove to Madison, WI for cyclocross nationals in January. It was a successful and memorable trip in many aspects. We made a lot of friends, sold a lot of product, and overall we had a really good time. The revival tour will not be the same, however, I hope it can live up to all expectations. I’m bummed that my partner in crime, Sammy, will not be joining me.

Basically, my dog and I are traveling across the Midwest to sell Feedback and race ‘cross. My wife and son are conveniently headed to California to spend time with the grandparents and relax at the beach. This makes my job away from home much less stressful and allows both of us to enjoy our travel a little more!

I have several goals that I would like to achieve on this road trip. First and foremost, since the trip is funded 100% by Feedback Sports, I need to justify the expenses with lots of orders. Hopefully open up some new accounts and sell, sell, sell! Second, I want to represent all of my sponsors at the Green Acres CX races this weekend in Minnesota. It’s exciting for me to get the chance to race in Foundry Cycles’ backyard and immerse myself in their CX scene. After spending 2 days racing and 2 days working in MN I will head towards Louisville KY for the  Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships. I will be sharing some stories here along the way. Thanks for following along now, go ride your bike.

Cyclocross Nationals

Let me begin by saying that I’m honored to be the 2014 Singlespeed Cyclocross National Champion. The support from all the spectators was awesome! Friends, family, sponsors, and hecklers all made for an incredible racing experience in Boulder, Colorado.
ss1Typical Colorado weather blessed us with several inches of snow the weekend prior to the race. The temps warmed up just enough to make for some proper cyclocross conditions. Mud, mud and more mud!corner

Equipment was essential so I will describe my set up real quick like: Foundry Harrow Disc Cross Bike with Whiskey carbon handlebars. Industry Nine Torch Hubs laced up to carbon tubulars with a 17t cog on the free hub body. Thomson stem and seatpost. Fizik Aliante VS Carbon Saddle. Shimano CX70 Cranks with a 36t chainring and a Problem Solver PF30 eccentric bottom bracket to tension the chain. TRP HY/RD brakes. Clement PDX tubular tires at a fairly low pressure. I built this rig on my Feedback Sports Pro Elite work stand two weeks prior to the event. However, I have no plans to put gears back on this bike!ss

Luckily, I got a front row call up. I knew Brady was going to get the holeshot since he’s wicked fast and he was running a taller gear. I was spun out almost immediately, however I was able to make it to the singletrack 3rd wheel. Brady started to pull away halfway through the first lap and I knew I needed to make a move early if I wanted to get away. After we rolled through the pits, the gravel path opened up and this was a great place to pass. Brady sat up to recover and I jumped at the opportunity to take the lead, especially since the table top feature was just around the corner and I wanted to catch some air. I started to open up a little gap on Brady through the tight and twisty corners. I couldn’t believe how good I was feeling and the course was perfect for my riding style. It definitely catered more towards the mountain bikers because of how technical it was.jump

I managed to extend my lead through the remainder of the race. I was in my element, having fun, and trying to push the limits. I never let up because I knew there were 100+ gnarly singlespeeders chasing me down for the coveted stars and bars jersey. The crowds were awesome and gave me the energy boost I needed to finish strong – luckily the race was only 44 minutes long, compared to the usual 60+ minute elite races. win tim-allen-crowd-pleaser (1)

It felt surreal to become a National Champion. I’m still in disbelief and completely overwhelmed with all of the support from friends and family! I’m really excited to have won this race, but I’m way more excited for the upcoming birth of our baby boy! My cyclocross season is complete… not really sure if I want to toe the line with the big boys on Sunday in the Elite race. I think it might be time to hang up the cross bikes and end on a high note! Besides, I’m gonna be a Dad!men-ss-podiumlauren

My beautiful wife is due on February, 3rd and I am really looking forward to being a Dad!

See you on the mountain bike this spring!

Pro Velo Passion: http://provelopassion.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/tim-allen-the-likely-unlikely-2014-single-speed-cyclocross-national-champion/

Post race interview: http://dirtwire.tv/2014/01/tim-allen-singlepspeed-national-champ/

CX Magazine article: http://www.cxmagazine.com/2014-cyclocross-nationals-singlespeed-men-tim-allen-brady-kappius

303 Cycling: http://303cycling.com/2014-US-Cyclocross-National-Championships-Day-1-SingleSpeed

A Weekend to Remember in Providence, RI

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Doug and I having fun checking out the course

Providence, Rhode Island hosts one of the largest and most renowned cyclocross festivals in the country. Located in the heart of Roger Williams Park, the venue consists of rolling green grass and vibrant deciduous trees. The 420 acre park features several lakes, historic monuments, a zoo, botanical gardens and of course a pristine cyclocross track. We’re not talking your average course with a couple janky barriers and a pit. This manicured course was built by some of the best in the biz. They incorporated manmade staircases, a flyover, tabletop jump (my favorite), and barriers; all of which intertwined the massive old growth sycamores and maples. The crowds were in abundance, somewhere in the neighborhood of eight thousand people was the number I heard from Saturday’s event. The expo was awesome, our booth (Feedback Sports) was in a prime location, right next to the course with close proximity to all the food vendors. After all, this was a “work” trip and I was fortunate enough to join in on the fun. Sammy, our Eastern Sales Representative flew out the week prior to the event to travel with our outside rep, Derek. On Thursday, Doug (the owner) and Greg (teammate) flew into Providence. It was sure to be a weekend to remember.

Providence Cyclocross Festival

Katie Compton making moves on a beautiful day in Providence! Not a bad view either.

On Friday we hung out at the venue setting up our expo, catching up with industry friends, and checking out the course. Huge thanks to WD-40 Bike for transporting our Feedback tent and my bike all the way from Colorado. There was a race Friday evening that a few of our teammates competed in while Doug and I tried to stay warm and dry. A good Italian dinner and some rest was in order because Saturday and Sunday were the big UCI races.

Providence Cyclocross Festival

Here’s a shot I stole from Velonews that highlights the terrain and venue exceptionally well

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Descending the flyover

Since I was not racing until late in the afternoon both days, I was lucky enough to skip out on the 5:45 wake up call to set up the expo… Sammy and Griggs stepped up and worked some long days so that I could try to conserve some energy for the elite race smackdown. I ran into Mark and Katie Compton at breakfast and they were nice enough to offer me a ride to the venue at 10am. I have to say, it felt good to roll into the Providence Cyclocross Festival with one of the best cyclocross athletes in the world. They were super nice and we joked about the weather and shared typical disc brake banter. It was no surprise to me that Katie still prefers her cantilever bike… Doug does too! Not me, that’s for sure! I love my disc brakes. They modulate so well that you can charge into corners full speed and scrub your speed without skidding. They also let my hands relax more and relieve the white knuckle effect that cantilevers often cause. I would recommend racing/riding a disc bike before you write it off!

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Yes, there was a fog machine at the start, during call ups!
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riding the stairs

I manned the Feedback booth and spent both days chatting with end users and dealers alike. There was an overwhelming gratitude for our presence on the East coast since we usually stick around the Rocky Mountains. Sammy worked the pits while Doug, Greg, Lee and Derek raced in a field of 200+ dudes. It was a spectacle to watch and thankfully they all had successful races! A few hours later it was time to kit up and take some practice laps to dial in my tire pressure and get comfortable on the course. It felt good, the bike (Foundry Harrow), the tires (Clement PDX at 26psi -ish), even the legs felt good! The only thing bugging me was my lack of UCI points meant that I was going to start in the back of a stacked field of 82 pros. I was motivated to ride hard the whole race and try to continuously move up. That said, I was happy with 29th.

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catching a little air on the table top

 On Sunday there was some precipitation that changed up the course conditions quite a bit. The corners were greasy and the grass was slick… even the astro turf covering the flyover was slippery. Again, showing up to the venue with Katie Compton and talking with her about the conditions – we were both happy to see some mud and thought it would cater to our advantage! Even though I moved up 50 spots yesterday, my call up was still back row (74th). The UCI point system is severely flawed in my opinion. Since it was a C2 UCI race it meant they only paid top 25 instead of top 30 in Saturday’s C1… so there was a little extra motivation… $$. I felt smooth and confident on the course and was picking off 5 or 10 guys per lap which also felt really good. With 2 laps to go I had the top 20 insight, sitting in 21st (at my limit). Sammy, who was in the pits supporting me, was shouting out my place each lap which was helpful to know where I was at – otherwise I would have no idea. I really started to feel it on the last lap – giving up on the top twenty – I was more concerned with maintaining my position. I blew up hard and had nothing left in the tank on the last lap. 3 guys passed me and I hung on for 24th. Not super happy with a weak final lap, but no complaints because I rode a strong race and burned all of my matches.

The Providence Cyclocross Festival is a world class event that I would highly recommend to everyone. It was a great weekend packed with many great memories with great friends and coworkers.

Huge thanks to my amazing sponsors; Feedback Sports: for making the best damn work stands in the industry, Foundry Cycles: for making the best bikes in the biz, Shimano: for the smoothest shifting drivetrain, and Fizik: for the comfy saddles and shoes… and thank YOU for reading this.

If you have any questions please post them in the comments or email me directly at tim.allen@feedbacksports.com

Work Hard. Love Life. Ride a Foundry.

It’s Cyclocross season – Here’s what I’ve been up to

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This is my Harrow built with Shimano Ultegra at the Colorado National Monument in Fruita Colorado

Cross Vegas 2013. © Nathan Hofferber / Cyclocross Magazine

CX Magazine took a pic of my bike after Cross Vegas

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typical lunch ride in Golden

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we experienced incredible amounts of rain

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…and some minor flooding in our new house! Nothing to complain about compared to Boulder

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We ordered chicks (30 to be exact). They arrived via USPS Priority and we now have 27 survivors. They are mixed breeds and provide excellent entertainment.

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working on the Sprint Stand from Feedback Sports – my shop is starting to come together…
http://feedbacksports.com/shop/Sprint-Work-Stand-P74.aspx

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Some friends of ours opened up a new brewery in Golden! Barrels and Bottles – downtown Golden, definitely stop in and taste some beers!

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the in laws came to town and went to work! our window wells have not looked this good since the house was built in ’71! Thanks Joe and Judy

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f2 f3 f4 f5vegassss 119 I built a fence

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…and some laying boxes for the hens (recycled kitchen cabinet)

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my “A” bike just got pimped out with Di2 and is literally plugged into the computer getting programmed for infinite shift capabilities (way beyond me…)

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making progress on the chicken coop

Enduro

Ironic that the XC guy made the front page of the Sunday paper...

Ironic that the XC guy made the front page of the Sunday paper…

With three of the Big Mountain Enduros behind us, I guess an update is in order. Angle Fire, New Mexico – Crested Butte, Colorado – Keystone, Colorado; amazing mountain bike destinations that I could easily spend weeks exploring. Instead, it was one weekend at each venue and primarily confined to the bike parks within the ski resort boundaries. This whole enduro scene is pretty interesting and I want to elaborate on some of my experiences and expectations.

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Angle Fire is a resort nestled in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico. I’ve done several xc races here in the past, including collegiate mtb nationals, and mountain states cups. I was familiar with how steep and rugged the terrain is and I have always heard amazing things about the South Boundary Trail that drops into Santa Fe. The format for the weekend looked like this; drive 5 hours Thursday night, pre-ride as many trails as possible on Friday, race a section of the SBT on Saturday, and then finish it off with some downhill runs in the bike park on Sunday before driving home. It was definitely an action packed weekend and my total racing time was just over an hour. The first stage was going to be my opportunity to see where I stacked up with all the top XC, DH and Enduro pros. It was expected to take about 20 minutes and there was a significant amount of climbing. I flatted my front tire about 10 minutes in and had to hike the rest of the way out. Needless to say, my race was over. The worst part was that the overall is a cumulative time of all the stages. I rode hard on Sunday but my results were sub par considering we were racing on World Cup Downhill courses and I had 100mm of suspension.

At the top of the South Boundary Trail in Angle Fire, NM

At the top of the South Boundary Trail in Angle Fire, NM

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Crested Butte is one of my favorite towns and has some of the best riding in the world in my humble opinion. Lauren, Moki, my buddy Stevie and I camped out at the infamous Oh Be Joyful just outside of town along the Slate River. The wild flowers were poppin’ like Orville and the river was raging with painfully cold snow melt. The format at the Crested Butte Enduro consisted of riding chairlifts to the top and then racing down. No pedaling transitions and pure bike park trails with man-made jumps and ladders. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun and I enjoy sending it off huge jumps and getting sideways on blown out berms, but I also like to pedal. The longest stage took roughly 13 minutes and I finished 6th which put me in 10th overall for Saturday. I was happy with this, but not so happy that I spent the majority of the day sitting in the grass outside a hotel. It was way too much waiting around and not enough riding.  I did however meet, Mason Bond (Yeti Cycles) from Grass Valley, CA, Chris Johnston, and Dyllan Wolsky (Santa Cruz/Enve) from British Columbia. Top notch dudes for sure, and shredders on the downhill! Total time racing was 25 minutes or so. I couldn’t help but be slightly frustrated with the format… I did not sign up for downhill stage racing, but that’s how it was shaping up. So, I decided to throw in the towel and take my bike to the SR Suntour Demo Truck for some much needed service. Andrew Fiore took great care of me, installing a new damper, fresh seals and oil, and increasing the travel from 100 to 120mm!

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I sure am loving this new Elite Dropper from Thomson – smooth like butter!

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SR Suntour with a prime location in the heart of Crested Butte

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Chris Johnston with his Feedback stand that he bought in Canada!

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Here’s a sweet gallery: Mountain Flyer!  You should check out.

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Stevie embracing the “Enduro Life”

At Keystone, I went into it expecting a downhill stage race and that’s exactly what it was. I had more fun this weekend embracing the scene since I left all expectations of actually pedaling at home. Stevie invited myself, Dyllan and Chris to stay at his Uncle’s condo right in the village, just a stones throw from the chair lift. The bike park at Keystone is world class and provides anything you could possibly want. From corkscrew ladders, to humongous gap jumps, to gnarly rock gardens that will swallow you alive… Keystone has it all. Now that my bike has a full 120mm of travel up front, I was ready for anything. Keep in mind most guys are running 140-160mm. I manged to survive the weekend of DH stage racing with only one major crash and a few minor mechanicals, pulling out a top 20 for the weekend.BME Crested Butte 036 BME Crested Butte 022

Krista Park stopped by to bleed her dropper post!

Krista Park stopped by to bleed her dropper post!

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Sammy and Moki doing a little post race fishin’

Check out this gallery from VitalMTB.com

I’m not writing this blog to complain about the Big Mountain Enduro series, I think they are pulling off a great race series for their first full season and I am confident that it will only get better with time. However, I always think there is room for improvement. First of all, I have learned that my skills need major improving – when a downhiller can put 2 minutes into me on a 6 minute run, that’s legit. I have earned a totally new level of respect for downhill racers. The other side of the coin is for the race to cater towards both fitness and skill, not just who can blast off a jump and let loose on a 45mph+ wide open ski run descent. Ross Schnell, one of the fastest riders in the biz, says it best when asked how to define Enduro: “They’re basically pedally downhill races where fitness is just as important as technical skill,” Schnell says.BME Crested Butte 042

I’m hopeful that the final two BME’s will offer more time on the bike and longer stages in the back country since that’s really what I signed up for to begin with…

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As always, I have to hand it to my sponsors for making this possible. The Orbea Tuff Shed mountain bike team, Enve wheels, White Industry hubs, Ergon grips saddle and pack, Thomson components, SR Suntour suspension, Rotor Cranks, Honey Stinger, and Feedback Sports.

Thanks for reading – pedal on!

Go Pro Mountain Games

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It was a beautiful weekend in Vail, CO. The aspen trees were vibrant and the snow-melt runoff was raging. With waterfalls everywhere and abundant single track it’s tough to have a “bad day”. Although my result in the x-country mtb race was nothing to write home about, it was a great way to start my season. This was my first race on the new Orbea Occam.

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We camped out in our usual spot, 5 minutes from the Vail Village in a beautiful aspen meadow. Stoked to break in our new tent from the North Face. I have to say that a spacious “car camping tent” is luxurious in comparison to our light weight 2 person backpacking tent that we have been using the past 6 years.

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The race was brutal. 3 laps up Vail Mountain was enough to make my legs cramp up worse than ever before. I finished, and Lauren’s reaction was; “Did you flat, crash or what happened?” Haha, I raced my brains out and felt like I had a pretty decent first race of the season. Finishing 32 at a race that I once finished 7th is tough to swallow, but my bike weighed 7lbs more than my old hardtail. The Occam felt great on the descent, but this race is won on the climb.

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I love this bike and owe a huge thanks to all my dedicated sponsors for making this experience possible!!!

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On Sunday, after a night out in the village watching some live music, we woke up with the sun and barely made it to the start of the 10k trail run! I told Lauren I would run it with her and she promised to take it easy on me. We ran/hiked for about 1:30 and my legs were not happy, but we finished. It felt good to get out on the trails and soak in some of the views. Since the course was similar to the mtb loop, I got to reminisce a bit about my suffering the day before.

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My Coors Chinook hops are going strong this year. They are already 12ft tall!

All in all, it was a great weekend in the mountains but it’s always fun to get home to water the garden and feed the chickens.

Next stop: Angle Fire, New Mexico – Big Mountain Enduro

Adios!

first impressions…

ImageNow that I have a few good rides on the Occam, I figured a brief update was in order. With any new bike, there is a break in period. The cables, brakes, tires, shocks, and saddle all need some miles on them before they’re race ready. The break in process is routine, however, the new bike adaptation can take some time. Adapting to a new geometry, full suspension, and a whole list of new components, requires some tinkering.

Thomson X4 Stem Thomson Ti 760mm 12deg sweep Ergon GA1

Thomson X4 Stem
Thomson Ti 760mm 12deg sweep
Ergon GA1

My philosophy is that with enough time, you (the rider) will adapt to whatever bike you ride. Whether it be a 29er, full suspension, hardtail, 650b… it doesn’t really matter once you get dialed in on the bike and get used to how the bike handles. I have been playing with suspension settings, fit geometry, and tire pressure to obtain the optimal ride. The optimal ride is impossible to define because it’s 100% personal preference. Sure, there are guidelines and manufacturer recommendations, but on the trail, it’s all about how it actually feels to the rider.

Sunset cruise with my wife and dog... overlooking Golden with a can of Banquet

Sunset cruise with my wife and dog… overlooking Golden with a can of Banquet

In my humble opinion, this bike is rad and ready for the Go Pro Mountain Games in Vail this weekend. The question is… am I?

Thanks for reading!