Specialized's Mallory Burda talks with us about partnering with Team TIBCO

Team TIBCO has partnered with Specialized Bicycle Components for 2011 and 2012, and is already racing on the Amira road and Shiv TT bikes. Specialized is also providing shoes and helmets. During camp, each rider worked with Specialized BG fit specialists to dial in the fit of their new bikes. Alison Powers said it best following her fit when she noted, "It's the first time I didn't feel on the bike. I felt in the bike. With it."

Mallory Burda, USA Marketing Coordinator at Specialized, took some time to discuss how Team TIBCO fits with the company and its goals.

Tell us about the Team TIBCO sponsorship. What is it about this team that is a particularly good fit for Specialized?

Specialized is proud to continue our support of women's racing. Our products are 100% inspired and built for the women we meet every day. Team TIBCO has a proven track record over the years developing strong female riders and amazing athletes. With Team TIBCO's dedication to supporting young riders from the beginning, Specialized saw this as a great opportunity to align with not only Team TIBCO's pro women's squad, but also work with the junior team the Team TIBCO II club team.

What type of feedback does Specialized look to the riders to provide? What makes this feedback so valuable?

We believe that performance drives innovation. The aim of our women's line has always been to deliver a full, uncompromising range of products designed for women. We create bikes and equipment that are focused and driven by real needs of female athletes. This might mean frame tubing that is tuned specifically for each size of bike, lighter frame weights or tuned suspension. The feedback from the riders is essential to our continued success with our women's products. They can tell us about a hot spot on their foot from a shoe or describe numbness in a hand, and we use these details to draw conclusions from every angle of the rider.

The riders spent a lot of time at camp getting dialed into their new equipment through your BG fit process. What are the goals of these fit sessions? What are the unique challenges to fitting pro riders (compared to a recreational rider at a LBS, for example)?

The goal of any BG FIit is to neutrally position the rider according to their body type. Adjusting the bike specifically for the rider's biomechanics, thus maximizing power, comfort and efficiency - all while significantly reducing the rider's chance of injury.

We hope all the riders come away from the fit sessions feeling better on their bikes. Their positions will help them control the bike better, deliver more power to the pedals, and leave them with more energy near the end of the race in order to come across the line first. Once they experience the benefit of being properly positioned, we hope they share that experience with other riders and racers.

We have to respect that professional riders make their living racing their bikes. When we, the fitters, make any changes to their equipment we have to be sure it will have a significant benefit. After making one or two noticeable improvements for the rider, they have a clear sense of the over-all benefit of the entire fit process.

Typically, professional riders have a keen sense of their body while pedaling, so getting good feedback can be easier with professional riders vs. recreational riders. BG Fit is all encompassing, the process maximizes both comfort and efficiency. The focus with the pros typically leans towards making them more powerful and efficient, while many recreational riders seek a fit in order to be more comfortable.

There is a lot of talk about the unique barriers for women who are just getting into the sport - new riders and/or new racers. What are some specific ways Specialized works to address these challenges?

Specialized values every rider, any level, any discipline. For this reason, we make a wide variety of products to meet the needs of level or budget. The best place to learn more about our great products or any sport is from the expert's right? For this reason, our Specialized dealers are the greatest resource for information on the sport, clinics on how to get started, information on the right products for your goals as an athlete, or just a friendly conversation to talk bikes! We make sure to provide our dealers with every resource we have to educate and inform consumers on our ideas and products.

A Conversation with - and between - the Schneider Sisters
The Schneider sisters, Samantha (20) and Skylar (12), hail from West Allis, WI. In an area that is not exactly known as a hotbed for developing professional cyclists, their father, Dave, introduced the girls to cycling at a very young age. The family's efforts have paid off, and today, both currently hold national championship titles. Sam is the two-time and reigning U23 criterium national champion. Skylar won the 10-12 year-old junior girls criterium and road race in 2010. This is the first year that the sisters will race for the same squad. Sam joined Team TIBCO in 2010, already her third year as a pro. Skylar was an early signing to the TIBCO junior team.

Here the sisters talk bikes, training and coming from a cycling family. They also discuss buckets lists, deserted islands and music preferences. And, they talk like sisters, with an obvious affection and admiration for one another.

Tell us about your first bike
Sam: It was red. I had a pink helmet. I never used training wheels. My dad didn't think it was necessary. When we were taught to ride bikes, my dad was on one side and my mom was on the other. They kind of played catch with us, tossing us back to the center when we fell towards their side. That's how they taught all three of us. It only took 10 minutes or so for each of us to get the hang of it. I was probably around four at the time.

Editor's note: The third child in the Schneider family reference above is 16-year-old Sean. Sam's younger brother was hit by a car during a training accident. His injuries prevent him from riding or racing, and he has since found his calling on the soccer field.

How did you get into competitive cycling?

Sam: My dad introduced the whole family to cycling. I did my first race at age two. It was a Big Wheel race. I finished second. Some girl, the daughter of my dad's friend, got first. She had a bigger bike and bigger wheels. It was definitely not a Big Wheel - not a fair race!

Skylar: I started young like Sam. I did my first race at three and my first real race at four. That was when I started racing BMX. I raced BMX at Grand Nationals in front of thousands of people, and I loved the energy.

Read the full conversation at: https://www.teamtibco.com/archives/2713

Recent Results

Gold Medal, Omnium, Track World Championships (Whitten)
1st Grand Prix Mairie d'Armissan, France (Sheridan)
1st Point-Saint-Esprit, France (Sheridan)
1st Frostbite Time Trial (Powers)
1st Kenosha Velosport Spring Race #1 (Schneider)
2nd Colorado University Criterium (Powers)
3rd Prologue, Redlands Classic (Willock)
4th Stage 1, MERCO Cycling Classic (Guarnier)
5th Overall, San Dimas Stage Race (Willock)
7th Overall, MERCO Cycling Classic (Small)
7th Overall, San Dimas Stage Race (Small)
7th Chambery French Cup #1 (Sheridan)

2nd Overall, Redlands Classic (Willock)
2nd Overall, Team Classification, Redlands Classic
2nd Stage 3, Redlands Classic (Small)
4th Overall, Redlands Classic (Small)
6th Ronde Van Vlaanderen World Cup (Numainville)

Upcoming Races
Van Lauwerszee Tot Dollard Tour, Holland, April 7-10
Sunny King Criterium, Alabama, April 9
Drentse 8 van Dwingeloo, April 14
Sea Otter Classic, April 14-17
Novilon World Cup, April 16