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Chuck Coyle's Racing Chronicles
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 4/1/2002
Chuck Coyle's Racing Chronicles

By Chuck Coyle

There is always a lot of talk, especially in the beginning of the season, about equipment and their apparent benefits or drawbacks. Ever present is the issue of Shimano –vs- Campy but the issue of equipment goes far beyond grouppo’s from handlebars and stems all the way to what energy bars you eat. People are also always asking me about our sponsors and what product we use. I think a lot of this is due to the fact that people want to know what the secret trick is to becoming a pro.

The secret is no secret, ride!

Once you are on a pro team your input into what equipment you prefer to use goes from you (and your wallet) to the management of your team. Your input ends at what length cranks, bars and stems you would like to run but even this you can often be overruled on, "You can’t run 46cm bars, they are too big for crit racing!" Don’t get me wrong, most of the time on most respectable teams good sponsors are lined up and everyone is happy.

This is most definitely the case with my 7-Up/Nutra Fig team. We have one of the most complete and advanced sponsorship packages of any team in the US. This makes my job a whole lot nicer (and easier) as a racer. And our equipment works, you don’t win races on the NRC calendar with bikes and equipment that can’t handle being pushed to their (and your) limits.

This is the package that the 7-Up/Nutra Fig team has for the season:

Bikes: Cannondale

We have the King Kong of bikes! It is easy to tell that having feedback from the Euro peloton has been a big help with creating bikes that are ready to race. From their geometry to oversize tubing that has gone through some amazing manipulation Cannondale has made a super light and crazy stiff bike that can handle 30mph crits just as well as speeding down descents at 60+MPH.

They also have frame sizing that goes in 1cm increments! That is unheard of, with that much selection you are certain to find a frame that fits great. I am 6’1" and went with a 59cm frame. I did this mainly to have the slightly longer top tube than the 58cm frames that I have been on in the past.

Forks: Time

What can I say? Full 1 1/8" carbon fork that is light and stiff. It doesn’t flex when you are putting 1600 watts into it during a sprint and the last thing you think about is its structural integrity.

I remember having a different fork from another company a couple years ago during the Tour of the Gila in Silver City, NM. We were stoked to get this brand new ultra light full carbon fork to test out. By the second day I had to switch to another fork because I couldn’t even ride one handed without the bike wanting to shoot off the road.

Stem, Bars, Cranks & Seat Post: Ritchey

Tom Ritchey has been (and still is) the head engineer, designer and main guy over at Ritchey. He makes parts that are light but more important to me, his stuff works (even his splined cranks!). They are not big into being the ultra-hip, one-off bicycle component manufacturer. They just build parts that don’t break under extreme race conditions. Hey, if it is good enough for the Lion King to trust his mighty jewels to sit on it is good enough for me!

Wheels: Ritchey

Again Ritchey has made a great product that can do anything well. We are on a deep ‘V’ section rims that are light and stiff. Of course there are wheels that are lighter, there always will be, but these you can race these on any kind of terrain and be competitive, what more can you ask for if you do not have 5 different types of wheels in your quiver to ride?

Food: Nutra Fig & Hammer Gel

Not only is Nutra Fig one of our main sponsors, they also make a great product. We had training camp at Roy & Betty Jura’s house in Fresno, CA (Roy's son is the president of San Joaquin Figs). Besides having a perfect place to train we learned all about the many benefits that figs have to offer (of which there I more than I ever thought possible!). Their energy bar, called the Cheetah Bar, is a fig-based bar that actually tastes good and doesn’t melt all over the place when it is in your pocket for 5 hours.

I have also used a plethora of different gels but what I like most about using Hammer Gel is that it comes in one of those refillable flasks. This means that you can store about 5 shots in one easy to use tube without getting covered in sticky stuff. You can even create your own potion by mixing various flavors.

The team favorite seems to be the Raspberry-Espresso combination but I am not a coffee drinker (can you believe that there is a pro racer who actually is not a java-junkie??). My favorite concoction is 3 parts Vanilla and 2 parts Raspberry………

Shoes & Pedals: Time

My feet don’t fall out of ‘em, they are comfortable and super stiff, what else can you ask for in a cycling shoe?

The pedal is also great, they are easy to get into and more importantly you never "pop out". There is nothing worse than popping a pedal mid-sprint, it is probably one of the most unnerving experiences a racer can have happen to him.

Glasses: Smith

They were the company who put interchangeable lenses into the main stream. They fit well and have been a favorite of mine for a long time. It is an added bonus to look cool when you are out there working like a dog!

Helmets: Bell

The new Bell helmets are fantastic, with a dial on the back to adjust the fit means that the helmet would stay put even without the buckle fastened. It has huge vents for max airflow and they even custom made the shells to match our team kits!

Well, that is the basic setup for the 7-Up/Nutra Fig team. Upon re-reading this I realize that it sounds a bit like and infomercial but I really do like all of our products this year. I have even developed some strange type of Fig addiction after staying with the Juras for so long. I don’t think that before this year I had ever even eaten just a plain old Fig. Now I have an ever-present bag of them on my kitchen counter.


Thanks For Reading!


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