Stating the obvious, July is a busy month for the bike world. There is this big bike race going on in Europe, I’m sure you’ve heard of it, and bike companies are busy getting their catalogs and ready for the year 2007. For H3 Publications this is the month that we invite the bike industry to Whistler, Canada for our yearly symposium. This year the attendees included Scott USA, Giant, Easton, Kenda, Jamis, Control Tech, Raleigh/DBR, Mavic, and Cane Creek, to name a few. In all, over 60 bike industry movers and shakers attended. Tim had just returned from the Tour and our photographer Al Crawford left for the Tour the same day we were leaving for Canada. I had returned from France the month before, so yeah, the summer is busy for us.
The daily symposium agenda is breakfast at 7:00, watch the Tour on a big screen tv and then hold “spirited” discussions on different topics. The first day was the status of the Whistler bike park and the work they are doing to improve the mountain biking experience. The following morning we discussed a controversial topic, the role of NORBA and the decline of mountain bike racing in the States. Several attendees have strong opinions on what needs to be corrected. To improve the mountain bike racing scene the general opinion was that the courses need to be improved and the prize money needs to be increased. One idea that was suggested was that the many different companies band together and donate a certain percentage of their revenue to create a better leverage to put the pressure on NORBA.
The following morning we discussed woman’s issues in the cycling industry from bikes designed to accommodate a woman’s body, to getting more women involved in the bike industry in a leadership role. Several companies have taken a proactive role in frame design such as Scott USA with frames designed for the woman. SRAM pointed out that one of their lead designers is a woman who designed the Force shift levers to be used by small, as well as large hands. Some attendees wondered if “designed for women” was more of a marketing strategy than something that was necessary for a woman. Other topics in this discussion included the shopping habits and buying power of women. Unfortunately, there were time restraints on this day and we had to end the discussion. This topic was continued to be discussed in more informal settings throughout the day. Hopefully, the companies in attendance will take home the suggestions from the Whistler symposium.
Next trip…Tour of Utah…
The MTB racing scene is truly a mess. I was @ MTB Nationals (Infinion Raceway, Sonoma CA) and the fields were pitiful. Who’s idea was it to qualify for Nationals? I had tons of friends who wanted to race, but couldn’t because they didn’t qualify…I was there racing on the road, so it didn’t matter for me.
Hardtails are out, and big freeride bikes are in. Perhaps more Super D like events, or omniums including Super-D, CX and short track.
For a sponsor, it makes more sense to sponsor a freeride video than a race.
The cost of a MTB race is outta hand as well. Road and Cross races are much cheaper.
The only bright spot I see in MTB racing is the Nor Cal MTB league, that has been a huge success.
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