Tour of Utah: Episode 1


Check out the Gallery and Team Bio’s here 

The Scheels in Sandy, Utah has put together a team to take on the Ultimate Challenge in The Tour of Utah bike race. This race is actually Stage 6 of the race, but is opened specifically for amateur cyclists. Meet Chris Wirtz, Casey Bartz, Jake Steinmetz, Preston Welbourne, and Chase Daily. They are just a few of our riders that are taking this challenge head on and we’ll be sharing their journey with you.


Tour of Utah 2014

Meet the SCHEELS Team!

Preston Wilbourne


I have been a bike enthusiast for many years, but only able to ride more often and more seriously since coming to work for Scheels when the Sandy store opened.

My wife Kanda and I love to ride. We ride mainly for fitness, and for fun. We also ride in the summer as cross-training for cross-country ski racing in the winter, which is our other passion.

We pick one big ski race to train for each year, and one big bike event each summer. This gives us a goal to train for, and helps us keep up the fitness level all year round. We did our first ever century ride last year and enjoyed it so much, we planned another this year. When Karen suggested that Scheels have a team do the Ultimate Challengge, it was a perfect fit our my summer biking and training plan.

Since Spring, my wife and I have been doing progressively longer rides with more climbing each week to crescendo for the Challenge. We have ridden the entire Challenge route, broken into smaller pieces, so we know what we are in for. Other Scheels team members accompanied us on those rides as well.

It has been great getting to know the other team members outside the store, and does promote better teamwork while at work too. I think the team has prepared well for teh ride, and I am confident we will cross the finish line.

The Ultimate Challenge is a BIG ride for anyone other than a professional bike racer. Crossing the finish line will be a rush and a relief at the same time. I am looking for hanging out in the finish area and watching the Pros follow us in. After all, we do get a four hour head start.


Tobie Harrell

TobieI’ve been a runner since age 12, running is my biggest passion. I ran competitively in high school and college, but my main event was the 1500m–for which my personal record is 4 minutes flat! I am still currently racing some-what competitively here in Sandy, mainly participating in trail running races. I ran my first 50k three weeks ago: the Speedgoat 50k. It involved 12,000 feet of elevation gain/loss in 34 miles.

I took up cycling as an alternative to running and my favorite is mountain biking. That being said, I also love the challenge of road biking because I love climbing big hills. I competed as a CAT 5 cyclist for Scheels in some small races in northern California and Reno, NV. My main objective for both running and cycling is for the challenge of seeing how hard and far I can push myself.


Adam Zupancic

Adam_ZupancicRecreational cyclist for about 10 years. Started riding with a few co-workers to get behind a new brand Scheels was carrying.  Scheels mentality is to be the best, and we decided we were going to find a way to dominate the cycling industry in Lincoln, NE.  Cycling has been my escape the last decade when life is stressful.  I enjoy getting out and enjoying the scenery. I played sports my whole life and took baseball very seriously, so I have really enjoyed the recreational side of cycling.  Over the years I have always looked for an event that would challenge me and keep me going.  My first bike challenge was a century ride in Texas called hotter n hell.  This was a 13,000 rider event in 95 degree heat, what a great adventure with a few good friends.  Over the years I have added running to my activities to keep me going and give me events to look forward to.  The ultimate challenge is exactly the type of event I like to do.  I have to sign up for something completely crazy or I might not train.

My family and career have been very important to me, so events like this force me to become efficient with my time.  I’ve spent the last six years in a store leader training program where I’ve moved to Springfield Illinois and now sandy Utah, all while starting to raise my 2 children and soon to be third.  Everyone has different challenges in life and balancing the goals of becoming a store leader, raise a family and stay active is possible….you just have to find what challenges you and find a group of people to keep you motivated.


Jake Steinmetz

Jake SteinmetzEver since college I’ve always wanted to try road biking. It always looked like a blast and something I might have a chance of being adequate at. About a month after starting at Scheels I had the opportunity to race a triathlon and Brody McInnis (My Assistant Store Leader in Eau Claire) let me demo a bike so I could race. After that I was able to hang on to the bike through the summer and compete in a gran fondo in Madison with a bunch of other Scheels associates. Since then, I’ve always had a passion for cycling.


Chris Wirtz

Chris WirtzI am 26 years old and from Wausau, Wisconsin. I Played a lot of sports growing up, and found out around 7th grade I was good at both Cross Country and Distance running on the track.  I stuck with it through High School with the goal of making it to the State meet in Cross Country and Track & Field.  Despite having many successes in H.S., I never made it to State.  I decided I should give running a try in college, because I would always wonder what could have been.  While attending UW- Eau Claire, I received the “best new comer” award in Cross Country and found I was more than competitive. Following that award, I became more disciplined with my running, put in thousands of miles and while I would say I was successful my first 2 years, my best accomplishments didn’t happen until my junior and senior years.  I earned my way into the National Championships for Cross Country and Outdoor Track and Field.  I competed in the 3000m Steeplechase at nationals both years, taking 4th place my junior year and 1st place my senior year, setting school records both years (8:56.2).  My most memorable moment came senior year during Cross Country: earning a team spot at Nationals.  It was fun to go as an individual but 100x better to go as a team and experience everything together.

Some of my personal bests include: 4:12 mile, 8:56 3000m steeplechase, 14:42 5k, 24:42 8k (CrossCountry), 72 min half marathon, and 2:48 marathon.

Having an endurance background has helped me with cycling and this challenge.  It has made my heart and lungs incredibly efficient, allowing me to go further and faster than most. It has also given me the mental strength to push my body to continue after it wants to quit.


Chace Daily

IMG_4246There are two big reasons why I jumped at the opportunity to ride the Tour of Utah, the first is that I love to compete and the second is to give me an end goal so that my training this summer would lead me to be a better hunter this fall.  I only hunt with archery equipment and unlike many hunters I backpack into the backcountry for a minimum of a week at a time to find the most remote places to hunt.  My goal when I’m hunting is to get into the harshest country I can find so I don’t have the added pressure of other hunters and so I can hunt animals that aren’t used to a human presence.  In order to get into these remote wilderness areas, you have to be in your peak physical shape.

What I have enjoyed most about training for the Tour is the mental and physical toughness you gain from grinding up a steep mountain.  When I’m hunting the backcountry for over a week, miles away from any trail or road, it can get very challenging at times to keep my sanity.  I have found that the harder I push myself during my physical training in the off season, the easier it is when I’m hunting to get over my fears such as loneliness, missing my friends and family, wishing I could eat real food and sleep in a real bed.  There is nothing worse than giving into these fears and heading for home only to realize how weak you were to become defeated by Mother Nature and eat tag soup.  I train hard to hunt hard.

Click here for Episode 1 of our Journey

Click here for Episode 2 of our Journey 


Tour of Utah 2014


The Ultimate Long Ride Checklist


by Matt Phippen, Scheels Expert

Going on a bicycling trip can be exciting and stressful all at the same time… Stressful due to the fact you are going to be on a bike for a set number of days and you want to make sure you have everything you would need.

Two Common Trip Types

1. Riding the entire route self-contained. This means everything you would need for the ride will be carried on the bike. This can be very stressful because you want to make sure you have everything, but the more you take the heavier your bike gets and climbing up those big hills you want to be as light as possible.

2. Riding the entire route supported. This mean you have a sag vehicle that will carry all your gear, follow you along the way and take care of any bike issues if you break down. These sag vehicles are great, because they take your gear from Point A to Point B making the ride stress free. It’s just you on the bike, no extra weight, enjoying the sites.

When you arrive at your location, your gear is there waiting for you.

Don’t Forget These…

Everyone is different when it comes to riding self-contained or supported. I’m riding the RAGBRAI Pre-Ride route across Iowa completely supported. I plan on packing one large waterproof duffle bag that will carry all my gear from town to town. Below, in no particular order are the items that I feel are a must to get me through 7 Days of a Supported RAGBRAI pre-ride.

1. Bicycle Helmet: The most important piece. You should never get on a bike without one.

2. Bike shoes: A good pair or biking shoes can make your riding experience more comfortable and efficient.

3. Biking socks: A pair of biking specific socks for every day you will be riding. An extra pair just in case they get wet. If you have the option to wash and dry clothes then you will not need as many.

4. Electronic Device Portable Charger: There is nothing worse than your battery dying. Keep all your electronic devices powered. You never know when and where you will need a charge. A lot of cycling apps (i.e. Strava, mapmyride drain cell phone batteries very quickly).

5. Sunscreen: Don’t leave home without it. A bad sun burn can ruin your experience. A spray sunscreen is easy to apply multiple times during the day without getting your hands all messy.

6. Soap to wash clothes: Make sure to put in a small secure container. There is nothing worse then laundry soap leaking all over your gear.

7. Bike Clothing: 7 Days = Up to 7 shorts/bibs and jerseys, unless you are going to wash and dry them every day.

8. Plastic Waterproof case: Anything small you want to keep dry, electronics, etc.

9. Zip Lock Case for Money, ID, credit cards, etc: Small, fits perfectly in your jersey pocket

10. Money: $10, $5 and (5) $1

11. Medicine/Emergency Kit: Aspirin, Tylenol, Benadryl, Ibuprofen, Electrolytes for dehydration (There is nothing worse than aches and pains)

12. Daily toiletries: Toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, soap, etc.

13. Clothes for 7 days: Shorts, Tee Shirts, socks, underwear, shoes or sandals. Less if you have access to a washer and dryer.)

14. Chamois Butter: Any anti-chaffing lotion is recommended. Your backside will thank you.

15. Spare Tubes, tire levers, portable pump and tool: I recommend at least two tubes. More if your bike requires a funny size tube. It’s better to have extras and be safe not sorry.

16. Arm Warmers/Sun Sleeves: Perfect for cold mornings or days with a lot of sun.

17. Cycling Gloves: Perfect for wiping off sweat and preventing blisters.

18. Road ID: Bracelet with all your current information, in case of an accident.

19. Rain Jacket: Hopefully you’ll never need it but just in case.

20. Sunglasses: A must for every day. Multiple lens options for different weather (Overcast, Sunny, Cloudy, Rainy)

21. Bike Wipes: Perfect after a wet, muddy ride to keep your bike looking like new.


RAGRBRAI Major Stops Announced


It’s official. Scheels is a proud sponsor of RAGBRAI XLII for 2014. The exciting news was made public during the Route Announcement Party on January 26. Registration is already open for this year’s ride (July 20-26) so start your planning now! To get you ready up for this famous event in Iowa, check out the information below and visit RAGBRAI’s website. To get geared up with the latest technology, visit for your biking and camping needs.

What is RAGBRAI?

RAGBRAI XLII Sponsored by Scheels

RAGBRAI, The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, is the oldest, largest, and longest bicycle touring event in the world and has long become an Iowa tradition. This year the ride is held on July 20-26 for its 42nd year.

It started in 1973 as a six-day ride across the state of Iowa by two Des Moines Register columnists who invited a few friends along. Since then it has grown to a rolling celebration attracting participants from all 50 states and many foreign countries. It has covered thousands of miles through the years and hundreds of thousands of riders have hopped in the saddle to pedal part of those miles.

RAGBRAI is a bicycle ride, not a race, and is planned and coordinated by The Des Moines Register. Riders who participate in RAGBRAI understand that they do so at their own risk.

The RAGBRAI route averages 468 miles equaling about 67 miles per day and is not necessarily flat. It begins somewhere along Iowa’s western border on the Missouri River and ends along the eastern border on the Mississippi River. The route changes from each year and is made public during the Route Announcement Party. Eight Iowa communities along the RAGBRAI route serve as “host” communities for overnight stays. The people of Iowa truly make RAGBRAI the special event that it is by opening up their towns and communities to participants.

Route Announced

RAGBRAI Route Announcement

The RAGBRAI route is announced each year during the Route Announcement Party in January. This year’s route celebrates smaller communities in northern Iowa. Along the way, riders will stop overnight in Okoboji, Emmetsburg, Forest City, Mason City, Waverly and Independence.

RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz said the northern route goes back to RAGBRAI’s small-town roots after 2013 stops in Council Bluffs and Des Moines and a 2012 visit to Cedar Rapids.

“There are no massive towns,” Juskiewicz said. “We’re getting back to smaller communities, which are the perfect size for RAGBRAI.”

Just one overnight town has a population over 10,000 — Mason City, which has only seen RAGBRAI come through once, 29 years ago. For those who remember the last time the ride rolled through town, in 1985, Mason City may look a bit different. “They’ve done a ton of downtown development, and they’re anxious to show it off,” Juskiewicz said.

The last stop, Guttenberg, is also the smallest, at 2.12 square miles and 1,919 residents. This is Guttenberg’s fifth time wrapping up RAGBRAI on the banks of the Mississippi.

Watch the highlights from the announcement party HERE.

Jerseys in Scheels Stores

Scheels stores in Iowa are getting in their shipment of exclusive RAGBRAI jerseys. They will soon be available for purchase online as well to ship anywhere across the United States (check back for updates soon).

RAGBRAI Jerseys in Scheels Iowa stores. Also available online at

Stay Connected!

Check back often for the latest updates of store events and exciting announcements related to RAGBRAI as we near closer to the ride of a lifetime.

Source: RAGBRAI’s website


Ask Scheels Experts: Biking



Scheels Facebook followers were recently asked to share their bike questions with us. Those questions were forwarded to Scheels bike experts Aaron Romaine (Moorhead, MN) and Jenn Bast (Eau Claire, WI), whose responses can be found below. We hope these will assist you as you prepare for a summer on the roads and trails.


Is there a rule for seat height?

Bast: Yes. Typically, you want a big enough frame size where the seat post is up 2-4 inches from the frame of the bike allowing a slight bend in your knee. This may also vary depending on the style of biking you are doing (mountain biking vs. casual riding).

Romaine: There are several formulas on the internet that can help you calculate what your seat height should be and several “rules of thumb” that can be applied to attain the correct seat height. What it really boils down to is simply make the bike as comfortable as possible and gain the most out of your bike with little effort.  When riding your bike you should really have a knee bend of approximately 10 degrees when the bottom of your pedal is perpendicular to the ground (meaning your leg is almost straight). This can seem a little tall for most people because you can no longer touch the ground with the flats of your foot, but only with your tiptoes while on your bike seat. You can get to this height by simply raising the seat until it’s up to your hip bone.  This should get you to the general height needed to get to the 10-degree rule. To determine if your seat is too high, simply pay attention to what your hips are doing while riding your bike. If you feel your hips are going up and down, or if it feels as though you’re “rocking “ from side to side, then your seat’s probably too high.

Proper seat height ensures a couple of things; one is an efficient pedal stroke. I look at it like this, pedaling with a poor pedal stroke is like walking down the block with a 50lb bag of dog food. You can walk the same distance without the dog food, so why would you choose to do so. The other — and more important — reason is the damage you could cause to your knee. If your seat is too low you can experience pain in the front part of your knee, if the seat is too high, then the back part can cause discomfort.

The best advice I can give is to get your seat height as close to the 10-degree rule as possible. Put your wrench in your pocket and go for a ride and let your body tell you what feels right. After a couple of “tweaks” with the wrench you’ll be on the road in comfort!

Watch a helpful how-to video on adjusting your bike seat.


What all should be done to a road bike taken in for a spring tune up?

Bast: In order of what I usually do: Clean the frame and get all the junk off your bike that may be left from fall, check the break system and make sure all pads are clean and working properly, clean and run through your drivetrain to ensure your bike is shifting properly, and use a de-greaser on your chain followed by the right lubricant (depending on weather). The last thing I check is tire pressure. I usually put new tubes on both tires just to be safe going into riding season.

Romaine: I generally recommend a performance tune-up to customers. This allows the service technician to clean and inspect the drivetrain and thoroughly go through the bike. Since a road bike generally takes on a lot of miles, a chain can easily become worn and stretched out. Depending on the intensity of riding the cyclist is doing, and how they shift their bike, a standard road chain can wear anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 miles. If a worn chain is left unattended, it could start wearing out the rear cogset and chain rings, costing the customer a lot of money. I also thoroughly inspect the tires, then the cables, and so on. I would recommend a major overhaul once every two years, depending on the conditions the rider experiences during the riding season and the amount of miles the customer is putting on their bike. Since a majority of mid- to high-end road bikes come standard with sealed bearing systems, they generally don’t need to be completely taken down to the frame on a yearly basis.


What are some of the most common repairs you have come through the store?

Romaine: The most common repair I have on a day-to-day basis is your standard flat tire. My shop has changing flats down to such a tee that we can change a flat tire in less than three minutes! I would say a distant second would be a standard shifting adjustment.


Did you find this article helpful? Let us know your thoughts in a comment below.


What Makes a Good Biker

Bryan Brinkman, Bike ExpertTo be a top road and mountain biker requires physical toughness and mental endurance—and, if you’re like Scheels Biking Expert Bryan Brinkman, he’ll tell you a little physiological aptitude doesn’t hurt either.

“I’m fairly tall, which gives me a lot of leverage, and I can produce a lot of power on the bike, which helps,” he said. “It also hinders me, because I carry more weight . . . but I hold my own pretty well.”

True, Brinkman’s been blessed physically, but sometimes it’s the psychological side that gets to long-distance riders. Just like marathon runners, the biker’s 100-mile version brings out the best and the worst in athletes.

“I think I’m able to endure a lot of just pain and suffering—maybe not severe pain, but that non-stop, agonizing, riding pain,” said Brinkman. “I know I’m dehydrated, I know my (body) is hurting, I know my feet are killing me, I know the wind is blowing and the sun is hot. But I keep on going, and when I get it done, I just I relish in the fact that I did it.”

Have you ever had that feeling? The self-satisfaction of a job-well-done that no one can ever take away from you? Share with us below your sport of choice, and how Scheels helped outfit you to push it to the limit.


Behind the Counter: Service Shop

Did you know Scheels Service Shop offers more than 30 services ranging from bike tune ups to baseball glove lacing? Join Scheels Service Tech Curt Maki from Fargo Scheels for a behind the scenes look at the Scheels Service Shop.

Have a question for our service shop? Let us know in a comment below!