Interview: Challenge Family CEO Felix Walchshöfer

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Felix Walchshöfer, CEO of the Challenge Family stayed at Playitas Resort and we got the opportunity to go one on one with him.

It’s a pleasure for Playitas Resort having you here in Fuerteventura. How are you Felix?

Really good, I just had two wonderful weeks of training here at Playitas with great weather – so much better than at home! I am absolutely happy!

And your family, we mean… Challenge Family?

We are doing very well in the Challenge Family as well. Recently, we had several new races, particularly in the U.S., and it is steadily growing. We are feeling great about the latest developments.

17 races in 2013, 22 in 2014 – 5 more races in just one year. That’s definitely a ‘Challenge’. What can you tell us about your next or new projects?

Last year our main focus was on the U.S. We started three new races – at the east coast, in the mid of the country as well as in California. The next step will be South America; we are currently looking into Brazil. Furthermore, we have various additions in Europe.

A lot of people probably asked you before, but… swim, bike or run?

I would say that I am most talented in swimming, but I enjoy most running.

How about the bike?

Yea, well, I have to get over it! [Felix smiles]

As I am normally on races during the weekends, it is hard to find time for longer biking tours which does not make it easy for me when I am biking in the races.

We met your sister last year. Are you guys coming to the Challenge Fuerteventura this time?

Yes.

Both of you?

We will have to sit down and discuss all the races that are going on in the next time, but one of us will definitely be there.

Your life is all about triathlon, but what about other sports? Do you find any time for it?

Unfortunately not, professionally and private it is all about triathlon for me. I tried different things, I was actually coming from athletics to triathlon, but I am already happy to find enough time for triathlon, so I do not want to do further sports at the cost of my triathlon training.

What can you tell people who’re starting with triathlon?

Well, I think it is an absolute fascinating sport. Lately, more and more people start with triathlon due to health reasons. Swimming, biking and running – that is a combination of some of the most healthy sports and everyone is able to do these disciplines. My advise for people who just get started with the sport is not to take it too serious. Just go have fun and do it with your partner, friends or family – it is just a wonderful sport!

How would you define Playitas Resort?

In my opinion, Playitas is an amazing place for training. The facilities are perfect and the staff is one of the best. Everything is about sports and the management really takes care of the details that are important for the sportsmen coming here. The island is wonderful with its biking roads through the landscape and the swimming pool in the resort is ideal. All in all, it is an absolutely perfect location for the sport.

Cycling, a means of networking?

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Lets face it, most of us do not cycle to make a living. Having said that, there are a lot of us out there that have never written a bicycle at all. Let us tell you this, it is a very green method of displacing yourself from point A to point B and is proven to be one of the most forgiving sports there are. You can pace yourself, you can outperform yourself, you can do it on your own, you can do it as a group, you can do it with total strangers, you can do it with friends, you can do it with colleagues, you can do it with like minded people or you can teach it to the younger generation (highly recommended). The fact is, it is a sport that, when practiced with moderation (too much of anything is not good to begin with anyways), does not invade on ligaments or any other extremely focused anatomy of the body (saddle sore not taken into account). It is a great way of spending time with the family going for a stroll.

But did you know it is also becoming increasingly popular as a means of networking? Well, according to an article in the economist, it does…

Our point of view, when you come to Playitas Resort, don ́t bring any business with you. Getting to know new people is allowed but in a  ́free your mind ́kind of environment.

Enjoy! 😉

Suggestions

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Have you had this feeling that looking at the menu, you have no idea what to order? It all looks fantastic but nothing is jumping out and calling for your name…

It happens to all of us ones too often but there is a simple trick to get over it, ask for the suggestions of the Chef! In some restaurants the Maitre will suggest to you what kind of special dishes he/she has on that day. If the ingredients are to your likings, than go for it. A suggestion of the day is also a way for the chef to get inspiration and creativity going, so count on this as the effort will be reflected in the dishes. Normally, menus do not change that often, lets say only 3 to 4 times a year (mirroring the seasons). But suggestions normally change every day or so. It allows the chef to be creative with the ingredients of the moment/day.

Restaurante Da Luigi

And for you, the customer, it gives the opportunity to be surprised and get something that stands out of the menu.

So next time you are in a restaurant, if the Maitre does not already suggest something, feel free to ask for any suggestions or recommendations of the day!!!

Oh, and one more thing, keep it simple, free your mind! Bon Apetit!

Tyre pressure; an overestimated factor for a good ride

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Our own experience and a certain amount of reasoning would seem to indicate that:

Ideal tyre pressure is a function, in no particular order of significance, of average smoothness of surface, wheel size, tyre section (profile and functional width), wheel profile / vertical compliance, frame & fork vertical compliance, rider weight and tyre / tube compliance.

The bicycle / rider system can be viewed, crudely, as a suspension system where the wheels and tyres, frame, forks, seatpost, saddle, stem and bars provide the rebound, and the rider provides the damping.

Of these, the only one, for any given bicycle and rider we really have control over, is the tyre pressure. To distill that down into something more useful.

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All riders should run perhaps 10% more pressure in the back given an average 45/55% weight distribution.Smaller lighter riders should run lower pressures (less damping => reduce the rebound).

Bigger, heavier riders should run higher pressures (more damping => maintain the footprint and tyre compression relative to a light rider, higher rebound can be absorbed).

There may even be an argument for running a fatter tyre in the front so that the contact patch is closer to the same size front and rear, if indeed that in itself is seen as desirable (regularly done back in the day on BMXs).

If a rider has just spent a period of time having his or her teeth rattled by the road surface, (s)he is unlikely to be able to produce an optimal performance – so the question may be two pronged in any case – is there a difference between what is absolutely optimal for the purely mechanical performance of the machine / rider system and what is ideal for the rider who is actually providing the motive power – does less fatigue win over more rolling resistance?

We love your bikes

 Oh, one other thing – maximum marked pressures for tyres ought to be read in conjunction with rim manufacturer’s specs for the maximum pressure a rim can safely be used at – there is often an interesting mis-match – usually the rim manufacturer is rather more conservative in maximum recommended pressures.

But, having explained all this, you ought to know that we at Playitas Resort take care of this so that you do not have to worry.  Our material at the bicycle center is tuned to the need of the guest.

So next time you come to Playitas Resort, rent a bike and let us take care of the details.

Ride and free your mind! 😉