Tag Archives: memphis

29th Annual OICX Race

As time nears for our 29th annual OICX we have been busy prepping to host a fun yet competitive event for all ages and levels. In preparation for this thrilling race we sat down with co-founder/owner Joe Royer to discuss the beginning and creation of the longest running Cyclocross (CX) Bicycle Race in the US.

In order to bring everyone up to speed on the history of this race and CX in general, this style of riding which began in Europe is a mélange of road cycling meets mountain biking and was meant to be a Fall/Winter sport for riders. As Royer said, “The kind of weather we have experienced lately is exactly what Cyclocross riders are accustomed to.”

Royer and Outdoors Inc. cycling manager Joel Glasgow recently attended the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) World Cup hosted in Las Vegas this year to ensure that our event along the banks of the Mississippi River Sunday, November 1st at the Green Belt Park in Harbortown has all the current flair that the premier international event has.

The course is 1.5 miles and asks pros to dismount from their cycles to carry them over obstacles, run up the hills of the park and ride all-out for as many loops of the course as possible in a designated amount of time. Dependent on the weather Royer says the top cyclists this race attracts can expect each lap to take between six to seven and a half minutes.

The race is not only for the expert and professional riders as it includes a B race for intermediate riders and even three races for children to ride through the course and short rides for kids just learning to ride a course without obstacles to kids riding on tricycles!

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Ready. Set. GO!

Speaking of obstacles, a unique feature found only in this race is that the obstacles riders carry their bikes over are made from recovered logs from the Mississippi River to further add a touch of local flavor. Royer refers to the Mighty Mississippi as North America’s “Mt. Everest” and is proud of how amazed even the top cyclists are of this exclusive feature.

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Cyclocross often involves being able to get on and off your bike quickly to get over obstacles.

Royer summed up his three most important aspects of hosting a fun, respected and responsible race: “Make sure the fans, riders and other park users stay safe and have fun; follow all the guidelines from the UCI and USA Cycling and start on time; and be responsible in cleaning up the park following the celebration and party after the ride. We want to make sure park users have their beautiful, green park back Monday.”

As with this ride, much of Royer’s enthusiasm for his outdoors activities has stemmed from meeting, talking and working with people who find joy in their adventures. For him cycling, paddling the Mississippi (both still current activities) and climbing mountains in the Cascades of Washington to the Alps in Europe have afforded him the chances to engage with other enthusiasts of these sports.

“Experiencing the evolution of these sports has been fascinating over the years. Change is good,” said Royer.

Join us at the Green Belt Park in Harbortown this Sunday, November 1st to ride, cheer and/or just observe a race unique in the US and characteristic of Memphis. Riders can register beginning at 8am. Races begin at 9am for children, 9:20am for intermediate riders and 10am for expert/pros.

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And they’re off!

Please visit http://www.outdoorsinc.com or email Joe Royer <joeroyer@outdoorsinc.com> for more information and be sure to follow us on Strava for all future rides.


Written by: Hallie Burgess and Eric Bleier. Photos by Joe Royer.


Local Memphis Professional Paddler Competes in 33rd Outdoors, Inc. Canoe and Kayak Race

elmore 1This upcoming weekend marks the 33rd annual Outdoors Inc. Canoe and Kayak race in Memphis, Tennessee (OICK Memphis). The past competitors include Olympic medal contenders, World Cup Champions, local ‘legends’, and recreational paddlers alike. While the majority of the participants paddle in the race to enjoy a glorious day on the Mississippi with friends and family, a few come prepared to race in hopes of beating the course record or finishing with a personal record (PR). Among these avid competitors, Memphis’ local paddler Elmore Holmes plans to beat his current PR of 16 minutes and fifty-three seconds.

Elmore Holmes has been competing in the OICK Memphis since 1994 and will be paddling in the race for his 19th time. Like most paddlers, Holmes was introduced to paddling during summer camp at age thirteen. As he grew, Holmes continued to run rivers in North Carolina and Tennessee, as well as others around the United States.  He began competing in his mid-twenties in whitewater slalom events. In 1992, Slalom Canoeing became an Olympic sport and Holmes set his sights on qualifying for the National team in 1998 and 1999 and then the Olympic trials in 2000.


In most recent years, Holmes has focused on the open-water style of racing featured in the OICK Memphis race. This season, he has won the Bluz Cruz race on the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, MS, and the Battle on the Bayou race in Ocean Spring, MS. He considers the OICK Memphis to be the highlight of the season.

“OICK Memphis always shows every racer a good time. I think it’s the best in terms of professionalism and organization. The race continues to be more exciting each year since Olympians like Greg Barton and Mike Herbert first started competing in the race. Sometimes, I have a great race and still do not finish in the top five.” – Elmore Holmes

ElmoreHarborEntranceOICKR2012.jpgWhile Holmes emulates the likes of Greg Barton and Mike Herbert, who have both finished the course in under 15:40, he strives to improve his time each year. He focuses on making technical improvements, as compared to simply muscling through the race. By focusing on these factors, he continues to improve his time.  Holmes prefers the OICK Memphis distance because he believes he has to train for multiple aspects of paddling to be successful. The race is a combination of speed and endurance.

Holmes believes that, “the thing to enjoy the most is not winning but the actual process. Enjoy the days spent in the boat, trying to perfect techniques instead of only focusing on race times.” This ideal is very similar to that of one of his heroes, five-time whitewater slalom world champion Jon Lugbill.

 “It’s not worth the suffering to get to an end, the means must be enjoyable.” – Jon Lugbill

MissRaceStart4 2001While Holmes enjoys competition immensely, he also enjoys teaching others about his passion. Outdoors, Inc. enjoys the privilege of having Holmes teach its paddling classes. He is American Canoe Association (ACA) certified at the Coastal Kayaking Level and continues to perfect his paddling skills. During his classes at Shelby Farms, students learn proper paddling strokes, rudder use, proper foot pedal adjustment, and much more, while enjoying Memphis’ largest urban park.

When advising others who wish to make improvements in their paddling, Holmes expresses that, “it is better to paddle forty-five minutes, five days a week, than eight hours on a Sunday.” During longer paddles, muscles fatigue and start to ache, causing improper paddling strokes.



*OICK Memphis occurs on June 14,2014 followed by a festival on the Mississippi Rive in downtown Memphis. Registration closes on Friday, June 13th.The following Sunday, a boat Demo will occur at Shelby Farms on Pine Lake. For further details, please contact any Outdoors, Inc. location or comment on the post.

*Sign up for Elmore Holmes’ kayaking and canoe classes at the Outdoors, Inc. on Union. Please call 901-722-8988 or stop by to sign up.


Written by: Marie Mason, Outdoors, Inc.

*Photos Provided by Elmore Holmes





Outdoors, Inc. Co-Owner Honored by University of Memphis

In current times, specialty retail stores that remain open for fifteen years are spectacular. Moreover, specialty retail stores that consistently open its doors for forty years are anomalies. Joe Royer, along with co-owner Lawrence Migliaria, have accomplished a feat that most entrepreneurs still consider a dream. For the past forty years, Outdoors, Inc. has “outfitted human-powered recreation.” Exceptional service, product knowledge, and product purchasing practices allowed Outdoors, Inc. to reach its current level of success.

engroyerThis past April, Joe Royer received the “Outstanding Alumnus Award” from the University of Memphis’ Herff College of Engineering in recognition of past and present achievements, mainly in the ways of Outdoors, Inc. and his philanthropy as a board member of Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation, Mississippi River Bicycle Trail, Greater Memphis Greenline, and his position on the Advisory Board of the Wolf River Conservancy.

Royer’s engineering background compels him to focus on efficient design (weight, length, flexibility of products) specifically on bicycles and boats. A knowledgeable staff that rides, runs, and climbs is critical to understanding the slight differences within the above categories in different products.

“Every human being is different…which makes every bike build, shoe fit, backpack choice, and ski/snowboard binding mount unique. Our staff has paddled in Glacier Bay, Alaska, completed coast-to-coast riding tours, trekked around the world, completed marathons, and climbed around the continental United States. We hire daily users to ensure our customers safety and satisfaction in their adventures.”
– Joe Royer, President and Co-Owner, Outdoors, Inc.

After arriving in 1967 for the University of Memphis Engineering program, Joe Royer has watched the Memphis outdoor community continue to grow as numerous climbers, cyclists, runners, trekkers, and the sort call Memphis home. While the Memphis outdoor experience expands, Outdoors, Inc. expands in conjunction with the Bluff City to currently include five locations.

Upon questioning Royer about the reasoning behind Outdoors, Inc. success, he replied, “[Our] best skill is to not underestimate Memphians. They are running the Boston marathon, climbing the Matterhorn, and paddling the Mississippi. Memphians are strong and need reliable gear as apparent in our daily interactions. [Our] stores, for the past 40 years, have consistently offered high-performance products for customers.”joe and lawrence

While the success of Outdoors, Inc. is in part due to the management, a large part is also attributed to the knowledge and experience of the staff. Within the staff at each location, there are cyclists, runners, skiers, paddlers, climbers, and hikers. A collection of the staff has completed bicycle tours from the Pacific to Atlantic Ocean as well as simply commuting to work via the Greenline. Five of OI’s bicycle technicians have attended the U.S.A Cycling training center in Colorado Springs. Further, staff members have paddled in Alaska’s Glacier Bay, the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, and many other rivers in the continental U.S. and Europe. Employees have also hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, climbed the Matterhorn in Switzerland, and attended Mt. Rainier climbing school in Washington State.


Written By: Marie Mason, Outdoors, Inc.






Shelby Farms Greenline Ribbon Cutting Ceremony – Rejoice!

And the bikers, runners, skaters, and walkers rejoiced.

This last Tuesday marked the official opening of the Shelby Farms Greenline starting at Tillman street stretching out to Shelby Farms Park.  Although it is no secret that the Greenline has been, well, crowded weeks before the official opening, it is only expected to get more populated over time.

The Greenline’s Grand Opening event Saturday is expected to pack the trail with skaters, bikers and pedestrians alike.  Be on the lookout for a bike sled, propelled by two bikes, and a bike powered generator.  You can’t miss it, because it will be carrying a DJ booth.  Yes, a DJ booth.

Come on out and enjoy Memphis’ first Greenline.  It’s something to celebrate!  We will be set up with a tent at the High Point Terrace area, so be sure to stop in and say hello!