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Powered by Strava, the 2011 KOM Challenge was a climbing competition that was designed to be fun and highly rewarding. Over 8000 riders worldwide particpated, ranking up millions of feet (meters) of altitude (and attitude) over the 12 months. This individual, team and bike shop competition was brought to you by Studio Velo Cycling.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
MTBR.com Profiled - February's Club Winner
1. KOM Challenge: Francis, hearty congratulations to the mtbr.com team. You guys really put the legs down to put a late surge over the runner ups, San Francisco’s Mission Cycling, last month’s Club winners. Was the determination level pretty intense during those last few days?
Francis: We started 10 days late in the February challenge and had very low expectations. But our enthusiasm built up like a tidal wave culminating in the last few days. There were about 10 lead changes with our rival Mission Cycling and our members went absolutely insane: some abandoned their families, stopped looking for work or, if they had a job, rode deep into the night, and climbed 5k, 6k, 7k feet everyday for the team. Then a rumor spread that a keg of beer was involved and that was the turning point in this battle.
2. KOM Challenge: The majority of feet your team racked up were done on mountain bikes, right?
Francis: A majority was done on mountain bikes. Many people resorted to riding on the road when the trail conditions got bad, but most of the club members primarily ride dirt.
3. KOM Challenge: Tell us about some of the team members? With 65 members I’m sure you have a few characters that really stand out in the crowd? (ages, background, gender, employment, etc)
Francis: We have elite racers and hardcore partiers in the group but the people who really stepped it this challenge are very normal riders. One is 60+ years old, one is a downhiller, a commuter, a newbie. They are not our fastest climbers but they became our best climbers as they were bonded by a common goal.
4. KOM Challenge: Francis, perhaps you could go out back and drag a few club members in here so we can get their take on the KOM Challenge – what it meant to them? How it might have pushed them to achieve?
MTBR.com club member UrbanTurban: The KOM Challenge motivated me to ride much more than usual. I'm not very fast, so gaining KOM titles on segments is not very motivating at this point in time. With the KOM challenge, endurance plays a much more important role than speed. That alone pushed me to climb four times more than I averaged per month in the past year. The challenge also brought together some of us who have conversed over the forum but never ridden together.
MTBR.com club member Leopold: It helped me realise that I am capable of cranking out many 4,000+ foot rides pretty much back to back.
MTBR.com club member Ratpick: For me, the focus has always been on miles. The climbing comes naturally in the Bay Area but is also the way to get stronger since Idon't have the discipline to do intervals on flat roads/trainer. Focusing on climbing since joining the KOM contest has already improved my strength. Unfortunately, the lack of long miles is not helping me lose weight to climb faster!
Francis: Mtbr members predominantly like to descend singletrack and drink beer. I think the tipping point here was they were empowered to rally under the mtbr.com brand. The support and determination surprised everyone.
5. KOM Challenge: Gents, what’s the off-road experience like in the San Jose and South Bay area? Is there a lot of access? Restrictions? User conflicts?
6. KOM Challenge: Francis, what’s the mtbr.com website’s main focus? How does it contribute to the sport? What does mtbr.com mean to your members?
Ratpick: A way to connect with other riders and be part of the MTB community. Some deep friendships occur at mtbr
JL: mtbr.com connects mountain bikers who have a shared interest in the sport locally. It is a great resource to organize group rides to explore new terrain, such as the vast Henry Coe State Park, or to ask questions about anything from where to buy Pliny to advise on best trails to ride when visiting the area.Occasionally, some will boast about their performance in races or, worse, about their KOM status on a particular Strava segment or, the worst, about their son's biking achievements.
Francis: Mtbr is brand that is recognized in many corners of the globe as we have 1.3 million monthly users. But at its core, it is a place where mountain bikers form solid bonds recommending products and sharing experiences with each other.
It's like the old saying: "Live to Mtbr. Mtbr to live." :)
7. KOM Challenge: Do you see mtbr.com encouraging your users to form other regional teams?
This can really catch on with the rest of our site and our other site Roadbikereview. But we would have to figure out some revenue relationship as Mtbr is purely advertising supported.
8. KOM Challenge: Any particular beer you want in the keg your club has have earned?
Russian River Pliny the Elder
Russian River Blind Pig
Russian River Stout
9. KOM Challenge: What surprised you the most in this experience?
Francis: Having tested dozens of bike computers and power meters, I thought gps devices and other electronics detracted from the mountain biking experience. I was surprised to see that this Garmin 500/Strava combination added to the experience.
JL: How caught up the riders were in this competition. Some of us even send their wives out to ride more climbing feet, others went for night rides in the cold andrain or went for 8000 feet epic rides up and down fire roads. I think we climbed close to half a million feet in the last three days of February.
CodePoet: For me it was how much it made me want to ride again. Having ridden a lot in my 20s I lost that passion to my career and family. Today I am facing 40 yrs old and this has re-awaken my desire to turn the cranks and makes me realize that I can fit riding in with my daily life and that keeping myself in good health; while it may take time away from both family and work it extends the likelihood that I will have both longer in my life. (having an amazingly supportive wife helps)
Leopold: The last-minute teamwork of many members going out on the last day and cranking up some insane altitude numbers.
MrCrash: I'm surprised it took tech geek JL this long to get a GPS and join Strava!