Road bicycle racing drives research
The Aspen Times
Bicycle racing, like other genres of racing, is a rolling laboratory in the world of product research and development.
Bicycle-manufacturing companies constantly use events like the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado as testing grounds for new concepts, new materials and new technology.
In the first two years of the USA Pro Challenge, which will open with the Aspen/Snowmass Circuit Race on Monday, many bike makers road-tested electronic shifting technology, including new batteries.
New chain rings and gearing combinations have been tried out in competition on the roads around Crested Butte, Telluride and Boulder.
New wheels and tires, too, made their debut in places like Cottonwood Pass and Independence Pass.
From new materials in the racing kits to the latest in nutrition, research rolls on with the professional bike racers.
The on-site testing for the cyclists includes the latest in hydration science, a crucial component in endurance sports like professional bicycle racing.
Osmo Nutrition, the company behind Osmo Active Hydration, jumped into the cycling scene with a unique partnerhip involving Slovakian superstar Peter Sagan.
“We’re here in Aspen supporting him (Sagan),” Osmo brand manager Terry Curley said of the new nutrition company that has soared in recent popularity. “He had some cramping issues in the past. He started using our product in the Tour of California. Since he started using it, he hasn’t had any cramping issues.”
Sagan’s cramping situation was well documented in the international cycling media along with the Slovakian’s eye-catching results.
Curley said the Osmo company provided logistical support for Sagan to spend a week in Aspen acclimating to the elevation for the upcoming USA Pro Challenge as well as big professional races in Canada and the World Championships.
Curley helped Sagan and his training partner on their training rides around the Aspen area, including advance trips up Independence Pass.
Curley, a former pro cyclist and cycling team manager, shuttled the cyclists around and provided technical help.
“It was a good six days,” Curley said of Sagan’s altitude adjustment in Aspen.
Curley said the hydration products of Osmo were developed through research with Dr. Stacy Sims, who specializes in the hydration field. He said that the company has enjoyed a terrific working relationship with Sagan.
“He’s a great personality. He’s super-chill,” Curley said.
The momentum of Sagan’s success in overcoming cramping issues has expanded interest from other professional sports, he said.
His responsibilities in supporting Sagan included an early morning trip to Victoria’s Expresso.
“They always want to stop about halfway through their ride for an expresso,” Curley said of Sagan and his training partner.
“Going to Leadville, there’s not really a stop until Leadville,” Curley said. “So I always stop at Victoria’s, get some … shots of expresso in a thermos for them.”
The Aspen-Leadville-Aspen ride was just one of Sagan’s training spins in the area.
“It was hard-core,” Curley said of Sagan’s trip up both sides of Independence Pass.
“He big-ringed both sides of the pass. It really was hard-core. But he was doing his hard efforts and getting ready for the race,” said Curley, before heading off to Boulder to support another cadre of cyclists.
He’ll be back in the Aspen area for the USA Pro Challenge.
Curley also provided support for cyclists last weekend in the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race. That’s where Curley first linked up with Osmo Nutrition.
“I did Leadville in 2010 and 2011, and I cramped. I had a really rough time,” Curley said. “In 2012, there were other issues, but I didn’t have cramping. So, I believe in the product.”
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