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Boulder Pop-up Shop: Output Speedlab Hits the Road

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“I expected the Rocky Mountains to be a little rockier than this.” “I was thinking the same thing. That John Denver is full of shit, man.” –Harry Dunne & Lloyd Christmas

Fortunately for Josh (Output’s co-founder and second best blog writer), he did not go a sixth of the way across the country in the wrong direction. Instead, he landed in Boulder, Colorado at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Named the happiest city in the US by National Geographic, Boulder is also known as a triathlon mecca. You can’t hit the local roads, trails, or pools without running into the likes of Ironman champions Mirinda Carfrae, Tim Don, Ben Hoffman or Siri Lindley.

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When Gui Campos, pro triathlete, Boulder-ite, and Output client, proposed a visit to his US base of operations, the beginnings of a plan was hatched. Gui, also a triathlon coach in the Matt Hanson Coaching group, arranged for a few of his athletes to join for a weekend mini-camp; highlighted by bike fits. Some additional Boulder athletes signed up as well and the Output SpeedLab Boulder Pop-Up was born.

The first athlete up (travelling all the way from Miami!) was Jorge. Newish to triathlon, Jorge was eager and excited to up his training and go after his first 70.3 in 2019. Getting in his way, literally and figuratively, was an uncomfortable saddle, a closed off chest (tight hip angle), and tight shoulders. The fantastic ISM PN 3.0, a saddle height increase, and a slightly raised front end opened up the hips. The equally fantastic Boulder based 51 Speedshop ‘FSM Carbon Extensions’ and wider pads greatly improved shoulder and hand comfort. It was quite a treat witnessing the unbridled grin on Jorge’s face while joining him on a ride immediately post fit.

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Another fit highlight was working with Kona-bound Briana, who came by to work on some saddle issues. Owning a self-proclaimed “graveyard” of failed saddles, Briana was beginning to doubt that the elusive “saddle nirvana” was in the cards for her. Utilizing the Gebiomized Saddle Pressure tool, we identified the precise location of the pressure, although relatively light, that was corresponding to her discomfort. Accordingly, we were able to test split nose saddles of different widths to attempt to alleviate the discomfort that would usually crop up for her after a few rides on a new saddle. Another Boulder-based company, Dash Cycling, won the day with their Dash Strike.

Fresh off training and racing throughout Europe all summer, Gui was eager to test a higher hand position and compare the aerodynamic position of a few helmets. We got to work and installed yet another set of 51 Speedshop extensions, this time the “Ultimate” model. Not 20 seconds after Gui hopped on the bike, he exclaimed, “Oh, yeah! This is the one! Never been more comfortable.”

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On to the helmet testing we went. Enter the contenders… 1) Giro Aerohead, 2) Ekoi Koina, and 3) Oakley ARO7. Minus a wind tunnel or velodrome the testing consisted of only a visual assessment and rider feedback. Essentially, what looks “smoother” and matches the arc of Gui’s head, neck, and back.  While Gui raved about the Ekoi’s comfort, it clearly stood higher into the wind and left a fairly large “neck gap”. That left the Giro and Oakley to duke it out. Both helmets fit Gui’s profile nicely, tucking neatly in the wind. If we had to choose, the Giro seems to fill in the neck gap for a continuous helmet-back interface. However, Gui was keen on the Oakley’s Prizm lens quality and overall comfort. Based the combination of factors, we gave Gui the Output approval for both the Giro Aerohead and Oakley ARO7. We plan to test our “insight” with a more scientific approach at the velodrome in early 2019.

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Making the best of our time between fittings, swim/bike/run/coffee in Boulder certainly did not disappoint. It truly is an outdoor paradise… well once you get past the 5500 ft elevation induced oxygen deprivation of course. The trip was capped off with an epic evening ride. Heading back into town we couldn’t stop gazing to the west; to the iconic trail-lined Flatirons with its craggy rock formations overlooking the city. That John Denver is certainly NOT full of shit.

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