The cutting edge in cycling technology is on display at the world’s greatest bike race
The Tour de France, which kicked off on July 4th, is arguably the most significant sporting event of any year that doesn’t include World Cup soccer. This year’s Tour, the 102nd annual, covers 3,360 kilometers over 21 stages and is ridden by 198 of the world’s top athletes representing 22 teams and 31 different countries. It’s big. And it’s brutal.
One aspect of cycling that sets it apart from other sports is the unique role equipment plays. The bikes are every bit as important as the riders and teams. Unlike football, F1 racing, or even soccer, a large portion of cycling fans participate in the sport on a weekly basis. As a result, we tend to geek out about the gear. Which makes the Tour that much more interesting given that the pros are riding the new 2016 models that bike manufacturers reveal just before the race begins — bikes that everyday amateurs can purchase soon thereafter.
The following are five new bikes that five top riders from five different teams are riding in the Tour de France as you read this. If there’s a consistent theme for 2016, it’s that the bikes are quantitatively lighter, stiffer, more aerodynamic, and more comfortable than what we’re currently riding.
BMC used Advanced Composites Engineering (ACE) to produce 34,000 virtual prototypes before settling on this frame design and geometry. At just 790g (54cm frame), the SRL01 is not only light but compliant and refined with razor-sharp handling.
Rider to watch: American GC contender Tejay Van Garderen, who is currently sitting in 2nd place overall after placing 5th in last year’s race. the BMC Racing Team won the Stage 9 Team Time Trial, an event in which they are also the reigning World Champions.
Refinements on the already super-light EVO frame include greater compliance (comfort) at the fork and seat post, which should smooth out the ride. Yet a new tube design around the drivetrain is 11% stiffer for more efficient power transfer i.e. speed.
All brands need to prepare for the localization of marketing…or get left behind
It’s late 2009. Foursquare and Gowalla are the rage among the technorati. Social navigation app Waze is just getting traction. Twitter acquires GeoAPI, a startup specializing in location technology, and the tech blogs are buzzing about the promise of geolocation — about the idea that location-aware mobile devices will revolutionize how consumers and brands interact in the physical world.
This is the dawn of the modern mobile era — an era defined by iOS and Android devices and by the decline of PCs as a broad mechanism for accessing the internet. This is the context in which my first software company, MomentFeed, was founded five years ago.
MomentFeed is an enterprise marketing platform. Like so many others, it’s a SaaS model that integrates a range of marketing channels and disciplines into a unified solution for large brands. What sets MomentFeed apart, however, is not some set of features and capabilities. Rather, it’s an entirely new marketing dynamic: the millions of places where companies do business and how billions of consumers interact with them via mobile devices.
Inspired by the revolution in mobile computing that was just getting started, we set out to build a marketing system that could handle this new reality — a reality where consumers rely heavily, even obsessively, on their smartphones for information, navigation, communication, and entertainment. Where consumers can be reached with contextually relevant marketing at all times of the day, wherever they happen to be.
In 2010, we started to build a technology platform that would be able to handle the marketing paradigm that smartphones would lead to in 2015. After five years of iterating, expanding, and staying true to the vision, we arrived at what can only be described as a new form of marketing. It combines the best of brand marketing, local marketing, and direct response. It is equal parts search, social, web, and mobile. It can be executed at all levels of an organization, from the CMO to the store manager. Finally, it is managed and measured with unprecedented levels of granularity and scale. As such, what we started to build was the world’s first localized marketing platform.
GURU takes the science of bike fitting to the nth degree
The world runs on data. It can be qualitative or quantitative. It can provide insights, information, and direction. It can change industries or lead to scientific breakthroughs. On a day-to-day basis, the decisions we make in our professional and personal lives are being driven more and more by data.
At MomentFeed, which is a SaaS (software-as-a-service) company, we consume and leverage data in everything we do, from sales and marketing to customer retention, product development, hiring, and fundraising. Why? Because we have to. Because the company that makes the best use of data is the company that wins. The same can be said for individual cycling performance.
In the following series, we’ll explore a range of data-driven methods for maximizing performance and efficiency. These data can be static in form of bike and body geometry, and they can be dynamic in the form of biometrics, power output, and fitness levels. Why? So you can go faster. By collecting, analyzing, and processing how all of these data can impact and improve performance, you’re able to take a highly objective and scientific approach to dropping your buddies on a climb or crushing their personal records on Strava.
The tropical paradise on Mexico’s Pacific coast that’s not Puerto Vallarta or Acapulco
When I think of an authentic Mexican getaway, I immediately start with the food: fresh ceviche, guacamole, and fish tacos. When I think of an ideal beach vacation, I think of a tropical climate with warm water, coconut palm trees, and soft sand. And when I think of great service, I think of raising a flag on my beachside palapa to signal I’m ready for another margarita and having it delivered moments later. But there’s only one place I know that has all three: Zihuatenejo.
In mentioning to friends that I’m headed to Zihuatenejo, Mexico, for a vacation, they either don’t know where it is or have only heard the name from Shawshank Redemption. It’s the place Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman escape to — quite literally — in the denouement of the 1994 film. I’ve been visiting Zihua, as it’s known, with my wife for more than a decade. Our destination wedding took place there in 2003 on Playa la Ropa, the main beach on Zihuatenejo Bay, in front of what was then Hotel Villa del Sol.
This small luxury beach resort with 46 rooms and a picture-perfect infinity pool has changed ownership twice since then. It became The Tides and is now the Viceroy Zihuatenejo. During this same period, my wife would give birth to our two children, now five and eight. I’d write a book and found a VC-backed software company. The United States would fight two different wars in the Middle East, elect its first black president, and go through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. And yet through all of this, the Viceroy Zihuatenejo changed only in name. The rooms, the vibe, the menu, the service, and several members of the staff are just as they were in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Which makes sense, because it’s not possible to improve on perfection. [Read more →]
The second annual #ChefsCycle ride to benefit No Kid Hungry sets the stage for a new cause-based cycling franchise
I’m in a paceline with Chefs Jason Roberts and Jeff Mahin on the Pacific Coast Highway, rolling through Malibu, California. We’re spinning along at 30 mph, riding in a narrow sleuth between weekend traffic on our left and a blur of of parked cars and surf boards to the right. This is the final stretch of a 100-mile ride that started in Santa Barbara earlier in the day and is about to end in Santa Monica. And although we have two more days and another 200 miles to go, ultimately ending up in San Diego, you wouldn’t know it from the pace. Roberts and Mahin are dropping the hammer to support a great cause…and to put the hurt on me.
For its second year, #ChefsCycle features East- and West-Coast versions, which go from New York City to Washington D.C. and Santa Barbara to San Diego respectfully for a grand total of about 600 miles. Roberts and Mahin are joined by a couple dozen other chefs who, combined, are raising more than $330,000 for No Kid Hungry. This translates into roughly three million meals. No Kid Hungry (NKH) is a campaign of national anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength, which has grown exponentially over the past five years. Unlike so many health and environmental causes, the goal of NKH is readily achievable with resources alone.
Which is to say it doesn’t require a moonshot or scientific breakthrough to get food to children in need. It goes without saying that the children of the world’s wealthiest nation should not suffer from malnutrition. Still, according to NKH, one in five kids in the U.S. will face hunger this year. This is why NKH has been partnering with America’s chefs and restaurants for nearly 30 years to support its cause. It’s a natural fit. By the same token, it’s rather perverse that Type 2 diabetes, largely the result of obesity, has reached epidemic proportions among children. So it’s also about providing healthy food and, if Roberts has his way, a dash of fitness.