Thursday, December 30, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Season's Greetings

2010 was a good year for sure, but not one without its challenges and ups & downs. Our business was re-born as CremaCycles and with that a wave of positive change that we are still riding out. We took part in some great events, the pinnacle being Critical Dirt and formed some lasting friendships and partnerships along the way. Personally I found my way back to racing, something I am very much looking forward going after with even more ernst in 2011. Injury & illness were un-welcomed passengers in 2010 - hoping to find means of mitigating those for 2011.

We are fortunate to be in this industry and living the life we lead. It is a pleasure to share in our passions with so many like minded souls and to actively engage the next generation, getting them equally as stoked on our outdoor lifestyle.

Thanks to all of you that have shared in our journey thus far and contributed to our success - too many to mention here (I would pretty much have to upload my whole contact database and insert them all here...) but you know who you are. Thanks to those who put forth the effort to make our activities better through advocacy & volunteer work, sponsorship, organization and participation at events. And thanks to those who keep the stoke going...we look forward to hearing and seeing more from your endeavors.

2011 looks very promising full of challenges, changes and new ideas - we can't wait.
Thanks & wish you all of healthy & happy Holiday Season and 2011!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ti Amo

Our good friends down in Italy have been up to it again, a full-on single speed cyclocross series where the name of the game is fun! Not too mention some serious racing in the mud. Stefano Spedini, the godfather of the one-geared mafiaoza in our southern neighboring land, also happens to be the kingpin and mastermind behind this series. Speedo also happens to be a proud IF owner and founder of some of the finest threads out of Italy.


SSCXIC





Monday, November 15, 2010

Vaihingen CX

Don't know when it happened, but it did. I am a changed rider. My M.O. was always to go out fast and try to hang on to it. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. A few times earlier on I sat in and waited to see how the race would unfold - those turned out to be some of my most memorable days on a bike.

A couple years out of the game, riding for pleasure and running business, I find myself slowly making the foray back into competitive cycling at a higher level. But this time around my perspective is different, I feel more secure in what I am doing. Not that I am confident or think I will succeed, but I am OK if it doesn't happen and with that come some inner tranquility. Also I feel a mature strength and confidence in my riding skill that wasn't there before. I am a stronger all-around rider than I was before - not as fast (yet), but better.



With this I have been campaigning at cyclocross races across Germany this fall, and to date with mixed success. Despite poor starts and an off day or two, my results have been OK, but still not what they were. So heading into the Cyclocross in Vaihingen (Stuttgart) I wanted to have a strong race and see what my true potential at the moment is.

Having picked a spot on the front row, I was ready to do battle, but the BDR commissar was not happy that more than 8 riders were lined up in the 8 given slots. After some dumbs stares and mumbling, I gave up my spot knowing the race would not be won into the first corner despite the efforts of others. Once again my plan was to sit in and see how the race unfolds. Sure enough off the start several charged off the front, and I slotted in around 15th or so.

Quickly the field stretched out and within a half a lap, the pretenders were sorted out from the contenders. Now I was sitting in 7th on the back of the front train. They started the Juniors, Elite Women and our group, Elite 40+. The youngsters were leading the charge and I was happy to let them do the work. Around lap 3 the gas went out and it seemed no one wanted to push the pace, being the only 40+ rider in the group, it was in my interest to keep the train moving keeping the other 40+ out of the ride. So I pushed forward causing a stir and the group and quickly the pace went back up. The result was a split in the group and I found myself with two others going off the front, but once again I sat in letting them lead the charge. Don't get me wrong, I was working, out of the saddle out of every corner, mashing the pedals on the climbs, taking risks going into the barriers at full-speed. It was by no means a free ride.

The laps peeled off and we were flying, then one of them flatted, I told him not to give up and try to come back on given the large gap we had. Meanwhile the lone Junior and myself swapped breaking wind at the front, putting on a great show for the crowds around the course. It was great to be recognized and cheered on by so many people around the course - thanks to all all who fired me on during the race!



With 3 to go, I suffered some side cramps and had to get out of the gas a little, this opened up the gap a little. I was trying some deep yoga breathing to get things back under control and slowly was able to get back down to business by the end of the second to last lap. But the damage was done and not matter my efforts, the Junior rider would solo in for the overall win. My consolation was a strong 2nd in the overall and winning the 40+, I was as much amped as I was relieved. It was a great day in the saddle and even though I turned myself inside out, it felt great.

Still not where I was when I was at the top of my game, but the spark is there, and so far it has been a positive experience. The plan is to keep going and see where I can take it, with some goals along the way and will surely be an adventure.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Custom(er) Rides

Here are a few rides we have built for some customer that are getting pedaled around here in Germany:

First up the man Carsten Winkler and his Planet X single speed. Classic & yet stylish build. He is also our tattoo man, you can see his IF tattoo in our current catalog.


Another classy Planet X done up in Omaha Orange and White panels belongs to Martin Gilluck. Martin is one-half of the ertzui equations, those guys responsible for our oh so awesome Cyclocross flick.

Okay, so this is not a customer's bike, but happens to be my own (re)new(ed) spielzeug. 3 years and a few paint jobs (we keep freshening this one up for the shows) and she still looks great. Probably better than ever in Pink. The frame is a one-off Factory Lightweight steel Deluxe and the complete bike comes in at around 8kg. Grrrrrrrr......
 This is Joerg's Deluxe. It is bad ass. Nuff said.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Images from Mannheim

Images courtesy Ubi Blutsventje.




CX Mannheim

The feet are firmly planted back on European soil, we now have of a week of 'reality' behind us. It was nice to be in Füssen before heading out for our first CX race of the season. My week was spent working with customers on pending orders and attending to the overwhelming positive response from EuroBike. CremaCycles has taken on nice life of its own. I also spent a lot of time looking for a showroom for  Crema, yep that's right, we are taking it up a notch. Full-on showroom, fitting studio & workshop pretty exciting stuff, and more so we will be better able to meet the growing needs of our customers and business.

In between the cracks we did some riding on the cross bikes in some truly nice, very Autumn weather in Öst Allgäu. Moist green fields pitched a beautiful contrast the fall foliage and blue skies. Before the bags were fully unpacked from our nearly month long absence from Füssen, we were packing up again to head to the Pfalz for a week of 'cross.

First up a cross race in Mannheim to open up the legs and to pitch our own cross race the following weekend. Racing for me has taken on a different roll than it did in my previous life as a serious contender. In this life my approach is much more relaxed and is more centered around the experience than the result. Don't get me wrong, I am still a competitor and want to be up front mixing it up, but I am also realistic about what is possible.

With this in mind, I found myself lining up mid-pack after a pre-race potty break. Lucky for me, Sandi was holding a spot for me, otherwise I would have started from way back in the bleachers. My thoughts were already to take it easy early on and just ride my own race, but from where I was starting from, I had no choice. Good friend Stijn Deferm had placed himself properly on the front line, and got the hole-shot in true Stijn form. Sandi & I rolled out together, navigated around an early crash and did not make much headway the first half-a-lap.

Once things got strung out a little, I started to work forward, but at a sustainable pace. The race was happening naturally, those who started too fast were starting to pay for it and fell backwards, and slowly we were moving forwards. By mid way, I found myself in the lead group, minus the leader who was taking a flyer off the front. The few guys I was riding with were going at a good pace, but were making lots of mistakes all around the course and expending lots of unnecessary energy. It was an interesting situation to be in, I knew was was faster, stronger and technically better than the guys around me, but just choose to sit in and let them work. One big trump card I had over all of them, and used every lap was bunny hopping the double barriers just before the start finish, and a single barrier a little later. Without effort I could sit back 5 meters behind the group, and pass all of them on the other side form the barriers. It was a lot of fun to play with them. Then one of the group decided he needed to pass in a tight wet corner, total beginners mistake and his carbon frame meeting the light pole paid the price.

For some reason they did not give a a lap count even though they had a lap counter trackside, so it was just play it smart 'til they rang the bell. On the bell lap we were down to two going for the runner-up spot. I let the other guy lead the charge and had him in total control despite his efforts to put lapped riders between us. Hot on his tail, we hit the last corner and he stopped. I was going by any way and hopped the barriers and sprinted to the line. 2nd place. Andreas Thiel who had briefly stopped and then finished third congratulated me and then commenced to complain he did not know the lap count, which I affirmed nor did I. What I did not know was he protested the results because he did not know the lap count to the organizer and it wasn't until the awards that when I was called up as 3rd did I learn of what went down. Too bad. That is not how you wish a fun day of racing to end. The organizers should have pulled me into the discussion since we were racing together and it had an effect on my placing in the end. And to Andreas I would say know your course, ride the race to then end, take responsibility for your own actions and earn your results on the course. But then again the result doesn't matter - it is the experience. For me it was a fun experience to be the 'senior' out there, having fun schooling the other riders and still learning some lessons myself.

Monday, September 13, 2010

EuroBike and Beyond

Since sometime in July it has been head down and lots of action at the CremaCycles world HQ. Between preparing our new catalogue, prepping for EuroBike and readying myself for a month back in my old stomping grounds in Colorado, I have had barely enough time to breath let alone anything else. Fast forward nearly two months and I am sitting in my old coffee shop Mochas in Gunnison in the middle of my US trip. Several solid days of a high-altitude recreation, good rides and seeing some old good friends.

EuroBike was our high point of the season for CremaCycles with several things coming together at the show. If you haven't checked out my previous post of the awesome ertzui cross clip, do so. Those guys are AV magicians making CX, Crema and yours truly never looking so good! Thanks you guys rock. Sadly I missed out on the premier of the Critical Film (movie from the Critical Dirt race we did this summer) can't wait for that.  Back to the show, we had the CX clip running in loop along with other ertzui flicks on our flatscreen in the booth, the best espresso on the show flowing out to eager showgoers, and our new catalogue to feast the eyes on. The vibe was awesome and the feedback positive. Now I am playing catch up from the road trying to get back to all of the inquiries via WiFi.

We have found some great synergy with Biciclista during the year at all of the show we have done together, be looking for more of this in 2011 plus some bigger and better things! Stefano did a fantastic job printing our wall for the stand and a huge thanks to him and Mario for helping set up and tear down. No way I would have made my flight with out those two! Also thanks for the yummy wine from Mario!

With in 24hours of tearing the stand down I was on my way with family in tow to the airport for a good dose of Americano culture. After landing in Denver, we picked up a sweet loaner 29er belt drive single speed Spot brand bike to have at our beck and call for the duration of our Urlaub. We dialed it in by hitting the trails in Bear Creek State Park in Denver before heading to the high-country the next day.

In true outdoor lifestyle fashion, Sandi & I took turns strapping Colin to our back for a hike up and down trail 403 out of Gothic, one of my favorite mtb trails. In the afternoon it was time to tunr the pedals on the ss29er out at Hartman Rocks. The next day we took turns doing laps on Upper/ Wetstone/ Stand up in CB. Day three in Gunni had us riding Hartmans once again, Sandi charged it with Jenny and I went out later with a good riding buddy Eddy. Good times!

Exhausted but happy, we are packing it up and will continue our adventures in Telluride, Sedona and then back up through Colorado.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Cross Teaser

While in Leipzig for Critical Dirt ertzui shot this nice little cross clip with us. Give it a spin and get ready to get your cross on!



Cyclocross

by Ken Bloomer (Crema Cycles / Independent Fabrication)

Shot at Critical Dirt race, Leipzig.


www.cremacycles.com
www.ifbikes.com
www.criticaldirt.com
www.ertzui.de

Monday, August 02, 2010

Out of the hole

Coming off my 5th illness for 2010, man this is getting old, we had the monumental task of putting on our 2. Mountainbike XC cup in Hochspeyer. Besides my outlook being the gutter along side my health, we have some obstacles tossed in our way making this year's edition tougher than ever. But none the less we hunkered down and got through it.



The course this year lost a section of track due to some construction, but there fore we tacked on another and did some trail maintenance in the process making some sections more ridable, but still techy. Fortunately the weather played along, actually it did a lot to make the track nearly perfect with some showers leading up to the race, for a fast tacky track. An ample helping of singletrack, steep descents and a barely ridable ascent were on the menu for our race.



CremaCycles riders David Guillot and Wolfgang Seyfried represented the If faction since Sandi and I were tied down with organizational obligations, although I did plan on racing this year had I not been sick... dang it! Nonetheless, I found soemthing to replace my desire to be out there swapping paint with others, I grabbed the mic and gave the spectators a play by play from the start/ finish area while spinning (more like hitting shuffle on the iPod) my own blend of music. OK, so I wasn't exactly Dave Towle out there, but got into to it, did it in German, had a blast MC'ing and even made the regional papers for my efforts...LOL!



We kicked off the day with a couple of free kids races, go the little guys and girls stoked on riding, the best part was seeing the little guy who won the peewee race jump up on the podium in his 'mountain champion' jersey as if he belonged up there. Tooo funny.

The whole day had some good tight racing and the course challenged all who came to race. But the men's main races were going off! Fast, tactical racing was the order of the day, since I was calling the action, it was great to see some tactics and attacks playing out on the course. What was especially cool was having a guy like David out there rally not only his sick IF Deluxe 29er 4 speed rigid black& pink bike in his pink Crema kit, but the fact he had a blast rallying the DH's around the course. It was too bad I could not stroll down to the down hill to enjoy the spectical with the many who gathered on the interesting parts of the course.

For me it is fun to put on such an event because I love to do races like this. The courses and formats I come up with are exactly the ones I personally would like to do. Hopefully next year I can stay healthy and jump in with the others for our race. Maybe with a wireless remote I can call the race from the on the tack...

Little side note, if you haven't seen the bike we did for Critical Dirt, you need to! It is freaking sick! Bonus: it is all over the blogosphere, here are some links to check out...

http://www.flickr.com/groups/criticaldirt2010/

http://criticaldirt.com/?p=1296

http://ifbikesblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/crema-steel-cyclocross.html

http://prollyisnotprobably.com/2010/07/independent_fabrication_crema.php

Monday, July 05, 2010

Crossification

some events transcend convention and are something much bigger than a gathering. Critical Dirt is one such event. It turned out to be so much more than a bike race, and it was such an honor just to be able to meet so many great souls and share in something so much larger. My whole time in Leipzig was special, it always is. The people their are genuine, creative, inspiring and...and...and... Tie that in with a weekend of racing, well not just racing but racing cross... in an uncoventional way, it leaves memories that last.

Full of pictures & sequences that replay over and over in my mind, it is inspiring yet a little overwhelming. There is so much I would like to keep fresh in my mind.

Gerolf, Basti, David and so many others need to be very proud of what they accomplished. This group of people put on a top notch weekend of racing not in just one location, but many. Think of old school rally racing where it was part navigation, part trying to get from A - B fast as possible. And they had us do this on 'cross' bikes over roads in the former eastern part of Germany. People, these roads have not seen maintenance in years. Gnarly. At the end of the stages the CD team provided us with awesome support and some unforgettable meals. On Saturday eve they threw a sweet evening dinner/ party complete with a grass track race. Sunday were two prelim cyclocross heats topped off with a final on what was one of the more difficult cross courses I have ridden, complete with the world's longest sand/ gravel pit. Sick. It was an impressive effort on their behalf, hats off.

The people I had the pleasure of riding with was mix of cyclo-fanatics on everything from pure bread cross racers to mtb w/ skinny tires to road bikes (some w/ profile tires, others not), fixed geared, trekking bikes and the list goes on... What was impressive, was the speed and effort and skills on display. These people were f-ing hauling the mail. We clipped along at 40kmh+ on some of the worst roads, paths and trails I have seen. Wow. Best part, we all worked & rode together. Nice.

Exhausted, sore and wanting more, I sit here and dream about the weekend past. And as everyday life creeps back into my existence, I grasp all the memories I can to take me forward and fuel me for the next adventure that will come my way.

Thanks to all of the CD team, helpers, people who took pictures, shot video, cheered, heckled, and Dresden/ Leipzig for the best event I have ever been to!

 Martin & Matthias @ a super little lunch spot in Leipzig


yummy
our train to the start in Dresden


the culprits

Felix's gorgeous Sycip crosser
trying to find the way
a killer mid-day lunch spread

our stage

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Two times round the clock in Munich

We were off to Munich for the weekend for the 24hours in Munich. Sandi was playing guest heavy-hitter on the Team Zyprus squad, while some IF family members, Henri Lesewitz & Michael Vieth, were waving the green-team colors high. My own ti 29 went to one of their team riders Toby for the race.

The venue in the Munich Olympic Park was pretty sweet with a cozy atmosphere with all of the team around the edge of the course on the stadium. The course was less a mountainbike course and more cyclocross, so much so there was even a 'run-up'. Probably a good reason why there so many 29er rolling around the course - but too bad not a cross bike. Seeds of holding a crss race there were sewn in my head and will have to be pursued...

It was great to see Basti & Kay out there at the venue. Kay shot some great pics from our rides at EHBE. They were on hand doing some work for Fahrstil shooting pics and checking out the scene.

Our Buddy Michael who lives in Munich swung by to hang out and afterwards took me for a quick ride through the city. Thomas & Burkhard form Waridi were on hand to illuminate things

It was great see everyone out there, catch up on things and to see all of the racing action. 

IF's hanging in the pits
Henri's Deluxe


Michi's Deluxe


The Man, Henri Lesewitz sporting our team kit.
Henri rolling around the Olympic park in Munich

Sandi railing the singletrack


Sandi's team took second in the mixed 4er teams

Next stop, Critical Dirt.